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.”
Council appoints demolition contractor ahead of exciting changes for Tyisha, Llanelli
CARMARTHENSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL has appointed a contractor to demolish housing blocks in Tyisha commonly known as ‘the Four Tys’.
The demolition work, which is set to begin at the end of November, will enable the build of a modern, mixed-use housing development which meets the needs of the community, as well as improvements to existing homes and the creation of community facilities and green spaces for everyone to enjoy.
Cllr Linda Davies Evans, chair of the Transforming Tyisha steering group and cabinet member for housing said: “I am delighted that we have reached this important milestone in the Transforming Tyisha project. The demolition of the ‘Four Tys’ will evoke powerful memories for many people who have lived and worked in Tyisha, but will mean that we can develop the housing and facilities that the community wants, needs and deserves.Local residents and businesses who may be impacted by the demolition process will be contacted before any work begins and throughout the process to ensure minimum disruption.”
This forms a part of the council’s ambitious plans to regenerate the Tyisha ward and the wider Llanelli town centre area which is undergoing massive investment.
The council is also seeking a partner to develop new housing and create a vibrant community. An early market engagement exercise is currently live which gives potential partners the opportunity to express their interest in working with the council to transform the area.
Fresh and innovative ideas for this exciting project can be submitted to the council until December 7.
For more information on the early market engagement process or the council’s Transforming Tyisha regeneration project please visit www.carmarthenshire.gov.uk/tyisha
The demolition of the ‘Four Tys’ forms part of the council’s ambitious Transforming Tyisha project which looks to regenerate the area through increasing community safety, developing housing and community facilities and improving the environment.
Man jailed for assaulting three officers during arrest
THREE female officers carrying out their duties suffered injuries in an unprovoked attack at the hands of the man they were trying to arrest.
Officers had executed a warrant at the home of John Steven Knight, in Stafford Street, Llanelli, for an unrelated matter. Because the 37-year-old was not home, PC Jaye Blanco-Martin, DC Eleri Owen and colleague who does not want to be named, attended his work in Ammanford.
As officers spoke with Knight he was initially calm and compliant. But then he tried to unlock his phone.
The DC who is not being named said: “In fear that Knight was attempting to delete evidence and frustrate a police investigation I took hold of his left arm to try and seize the phone.
“Knight’s personality and attitude towards the officers changed instantly.
“He moved his phone to his other hand and immediately started to fight us. He was pulling away clearly trying to escape.
“Out of nowhere I felt a sudden push from Knight using his full body weight and as a direct result of this blow and I fell to the ground and hit my head. I immediately felt pain and discomfort to my head and it started throbbing.”
In the struggle, all three officers ended up on the floor having been shoved and thrown into furniture, walls and a door frame.
Despite Knight’s efforts, the officers were able to arrest him, although they were left with the marks to show they had been in a struggle.
One officer suffered a suspected head injury that required a CT scan, while all three suffered cuts and bruising to various parts of their bodies.
The officer added: “I was incredibly worried for mine and my colleagues’ safety. Knight was a well built and over 6ft and had the strength to take three officers to the ground with him.”
Knight appeared at Haverfordwest Magistrates Court on September 29, the day after his arrest, on September 28, when he was sentenced to 12 months in prison.
Following the terrifying ordeal DC Owen said: “During the whole incident I was afraid not just for my safety but also my colleagues.
“That it was only three females with a male who was around 6ft 2ins resisting and assaulting officers made me feel vulnerable.
“I will never forget this, it will be something that stays with me throughout my career. I did not expect to go to work that day to be assaulted. I was just carrying out my duties.”
After a rise in such assaults, Dyfed-Powys Police has linked with Wales’ emergency services to launch the year-long ‘Work With Us, Not Against Us’ campaign.
It came after more than 4,240 assaults were committed against emergency workers, including police, fire and ambulance crews, in the period April 2019 – November 2020, representing a monthly average increase from 202 in 2019 to 222 in 2020, or 10%.
Temporary Deputy Chief Constable of Dyfed-Powys Police, Emma Ackland, said: “Assaults on police officers continues to increase and this is completely unacceptable. No officer should expect to come under any sort of attack when doing their best to serve the public and potentially save lives.
“It is vitally important that sentences given reflect the harm and upset caused to these victims – professionals doing their work.”
Town centre triumph as food festival returns
THE people of Llanelli treated themselves on Saturday, October 16 as Llanelli Food and Drink Festival returned for its third stint in the town centre.
Crowds turned out in droves as hot street food vendors and artisan producers lined the streets in the event organised by Ymlaen Llanelli, the town centre’s Business Improvement District (BID).
Chair of Ymlaen Llanelli, Lesley Richards, was thrilled with the event’s success: “The annual food festival is our biggest event, and it was great to see people excited for it to return after a year away. Our work at Ymlaen Llanelli is all about bringing people together in Llanelli town centre, so we’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone that came along and made the day what it was. We can always rely on the people of Llanelli to bring the party!”
The sun was shining as festival-goers as they tucked into their treats and were entertained as a lineup of acoustic acts took to the stage in Stepney Square.
Children and adults alike got stuck into the food-themed crafty fun as the vintage pottery bus Annibendod offered Mad Hatter’s Tea Party pottery, while A Taste of Times Past hosted pickling and pasta-making workshops in St Elli Shopping Centre.
BID Manager, Mandy Jenkins, was pleased with the day: “It was brilliant to see town so busy, and we’ve had incredible feedback from our businesses who were choc-a-block on the day. On top of that, the public response has been phenomenal, so we really couldn’t be happier. Thank you Llanelli!”
Ymlaen Llanelli returns for some festive fun with Llanelli Reindeer Parade on Saturday, December 4.
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