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Judge hammers police ‘dereliction of duty’

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Matthew Thomas: Freed to offend over and over again by Police

A PREDATORY sex offender was twice released on Police bail to offend again and again, even after making clear admissions of guilt to similar offences in interviews by Dyfed Powys Police officers.

Matthew Thomas, aged 21, moved from the north-east of England to Llanelli in an effort to dodge responsibility for offences relating to online grooming of vulnerable victims.

Cleveland Police, which was investigating Thomas for grooming a young girl with learning difficulties, contacted Dyfed Powys Police about him in December 2017.

Interviewed in Wales in January 2018, Thomas made clear and frank admissions about his conduct in grooming the vulnerable girl. When Police recovered data from his mobile phone, they recovered images of adults engaged in bestiality.

Thomas’ evil criminal method was consistent.

Prosecuting barrister Paul Hobson told the Court, that Thomas combined initial charm towards his victims with abuse. If his victims refused to comply with his perverted demands he would threaten to harm himself and tell his victims’ families what was going on.

After Dyfed Powys Police bailed Thomas, he stalked a further three young girls on social media using the same blend of threats and blackmail to get them to send indecent photos to him.

One of his victims was 13 years old.

Thomas sent the girl videos of him masturbating. He tried to persuade her to engage in a live video chat with him before threatening to rape her.

In August last year, Thomas was again arrested by Dyfed Powys Police after being caught in a sting by a paedophile hunter group.

Despite the admissions they already had from January and evidence relating to further offending, Police released him again.

He resumed offending almost immediately and in November 2018 was brought before Llanelli Magistrates Court and made the subject of an interim sexual harm order.

He continued offending.

He sent a photo of one of his victims to her own mother and encouraged another to self-harm.

When he was finally charged in January 2019, Police found he had groomed yet another 15-year-old victim and persuaded her to send him intimate photos which he threatened to distribute across social media.

The Court was told that, by the time he was charged, Thomas was the focus of eleven different Police investigations into the online grooming of vulnerable and under-age girls.

Thomas, of Nightingale Court, Llanelli, pleaded guilty to multiple counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, causing a child to watch a sexual act, possession and distribution of indecent images, and possession of extreme pornography.

Sentencing Thomas to a ten-year sentence, six in custody and a further four on an extended licence, HHJ Paul Thomas QC was savage in his criticism of the Police’s handling of the case.

HHJ Thomas said that the way in which the Police dealt with a persistent and dangerous offender was tantamount to ‘dereliction of duty’.

The Judge continued to demand a report from a senior officer of or above the rank of Assistant Chief Constable within three weeks to explain how Police had allowed Thomas to remain at liberty to offend.

Judge Thomas added: “It is disgraceful that this defendant was allowed to commit these offences which still under investigation.”

The Judge said Matthew Thomas’ behaviour towards the girls was “vicious and callous”.

Having concluded that Thomas posed a significant and continuing risk to the public, he passed an extended public protection sentence of ten years.

He ordered that Thomas register as a sexual offender for the rest of his life. The Judge also made Thomas the subject of an indefinite sexual harm prevention order to curtail his online access and protect young girls from his vile behaviour.

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Criminal damage at a caravan park in Kidwelly.

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POLICE are investigating reports of thefts and criminal damage at a caravan park in Kidwelly.

Two reports have been made, with a number of items stolen from two caravans at Tanylan Caravan Park.

The first incident took place between September 23 and October 12.

A number of items – including fishing equipment, computer consoles and £300 cash – were stolen, and an awning window was smashed.

The second report was made on October 13, with the crime taking place sometime after August 25.

Scooters, camping equipment, TVs, DVD players, Amazon fire sticks, a Wii U console, and several other items were taken.

Anyone with information about the burglaries is asked to contact PC 810 at Carmarthen Police Station.

You can report information 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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Abandoned property fire in Burry Port probed

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POLICE are investigating a fire at an abandoned property in Burry Port.

A call was made at around 1.20am today (Tuesday, November 19) reporting that a detached house in Graig was well alight.

The house is not lived in, and has sustained substantial fire damage.

There were no witnesses to indicate who has started the fire, but two people were seen running away from the scene.

Due to the temperature inside the building remaining high today, it has been unsafe for investigators to enter the building.

Anyone with information, or who saw a person or people acting suspiciously in the area between 12.30am and 1.30am is urged to contact the joint investigation unit at Llanelli Police Station.

You can report information 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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Man ‘fit for work’ collapses and dies at job centre

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A 65-YEAR-OLD man has collapsed while waiting for an appointment in a job centre in south Wales. He was found slumped in his chair at 9.30am on Friday in Llanelli.

The DWP said: “Our thoughts and those of the staff at Llanelli Jobcentre are with the family and friends at this time.”

The Llanelli Herald understands that he was waiting for an appointment to discuss Jobseeker’s Allowance after being declared fit for work earlier this year.

Staff and customers rushed to help, but they were unable to get a response so lay him on the floor.

They started CPR and an ambulance was called while the job centre was evacuated, but paramedics declared him dead at the scene. A witness told The Metro newspaper: “I didn’t know him myself, but the man who was sat next to me told me that he had grown up with the guy.

“The man next to me told me that the poor guy had diabetes and had been declared fit for work by the job centre earlier in the year but he was obviously ill.

“The ambulance came but he sadly died and they had to take his body out of the job centre, it was awful.

“We were all very shook up; it was a horrible situation that should have never happened. The job centre is all shut down now.’

The Welsh Ambulance Service confirmed to The Herald: “We were called on Friday November 15 at approximately 9.33am to reports of a person needing urgent medical attention on Stepney Street in central Llanelli. ‘We responded with one rapid response vehicle, one specialised medical vehicle and one emergency ambulance.’

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