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Major incident declared at Llangennech fuel train blaze

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RESIDENTS are being evacuated from their homes after a large diesel freight train caught fire in Carmarthenshire
Dyfed Powys Police said emergency services were dealing with the blaze on the tracks at Llangennech, near Llanelli.

Dramatic images and footage from the scene near Llangennech show flames and smoke towering into the sky.
The fire is burning in three carriages of the train, according to Dyfed-Powys Police.
An evacuation zone has been put in place, with residents taking shelter at both Bryn School and at the Llangennech Community Centre.
British Transport Police added on Twitter: “Emergency services are currently dealing with an incident on the railway near Llangennech, Wales.
“A large diesel freight train has caught fire. A cordon is in place, with roads closed and surrounding homes being evacuated. Please avoid the area.”
Dyfed-Powys Police Superintendent Ross Evans said: “This is a fast-moving situation, which has been declared a major incident.
“There are a significant number of emergency services personnel at the scene, and an evacuation zone has been put in place.
“Officers are in contact with people within that area asking them to leave their homes, and we urge people to comply with officers’ requests to ensure a swift and efficient evacuation.
“We are working closely with our colleagues at British Transport Police, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Carmarthenshire Council, and Natural Resources Wales to bring the incident to a safe conclusion.”
Updates will follow as the incident progresses, Mr Evans added.
In an official statement, Dyfed-Powys Police said: “Emergency services are currently dealing with a train fire in Llangennech.

“The incident was reported at just before 11.20pm on Wednesday, August 26, when three carriages of a diesel train were alight.

“Dyfed-Powys Police, British Transport Police and Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service are currently in attendance, with support from Carmarthenshire Council and Natural Resources Wales.
“Road closures are in place. People are asked to avoid the Llangennech and Hendy areas, and vehicles on the M4 are being asked to continue to Pont Abraham.
“Dyfed-Powys Police Superintendent Ross Evans said: “This is a fast-moving situation, which has been declared a major incident.
“There are a significant number of emergency services personnel at the scene, and an evacuation zone has been put in place.
“Officers are in contact with people within that area asking them to leave their homes, and we urge people to comply with officers’ requests to ensure a swift and efficient evacuation.
“We are working closely with our colleagues at British Transport Police, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Carmarthenshire Council, and Natural Resources Wales to bring the incident to a safe conclusion.”
“Updates will follow as the incident progresses.”

LIVE UPDATES:


02:13am UPDATE: Fire service: That three carriages of the train are currently on fire.

02:14am UPDATE: Police: “An evacuation zone has been put in place, with officers contacting people in this area to leave their homes and convene at Bryn School.”

02:14: UPDATE: Police: “Please comply with requests to ensure a swift evacuation process. Several roads are also closed. Please avoid the Llangennech area.”

03:30am UPDATE: Police: “We are receiving a lot of enquiries about the evacuation zone in Llangennech, as people in the area are understandably concerned.”

3:35am UPDATE: Police: “We would like to reassure that officers are calling at homes which need to be evacuated, and a police presence will remain in these streets. If you have not had personal contact from a police officer, please stay indoors and keep your windows closed.

5:00am UPDATE: Herald reporter on scene: “Locomotive has just arrived. Taking 18 carriages 300 meters away from the crash site, as they can’t take them away due to investigation.”

5:52am UPDATE: Dyfed-Powys Police Superintendent Ross Evans said: “This was a fast-moving situation, which was declared a major incident due to the initial risk of harm to people living in the area.

“The policing response was large scale, with officers across the force retained on duty to ensure we had sufficient resources to carry out the evacuation swiftly, as well as the deployment of a logistics specialist to assist and advise our officers on safely moving people from their homes to the reception points.

“The evacuation no doubt caused a significant amount of disruption for those evacuated in the middle of the night, and I would like to personally thank residents for their response, as well as our frontline officers who swiftly moved hundreds of residents out of their homes.

“My thanks also go to our emergency services colleagues for their response, and partners at the local authority for their assistance in finding and opening Bryn School and Llangennech Community Centre as safe points.

“Officers will continue to be visible in Llangennech, and we will continue to work closely with our colleagues at British Transport Police, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Carmarthenshire Council, and Natural Resources Wales to bring the incident to a conclusion.”

06:12 UPDATE: Reporter on scene: “Initial reports are that the locomotive involved was a Class 66 locomotive belonging to DB Cargo UK. Unconfirmed source from railtrack said that the driver managed to uncouple and move undamaged carriages to prevent a larger fire.”

06:14 UPDATE: Reporter on scene: “Driver was not injured in the incident.”

06:30: UPDATE: British Transport Police: “Enquiries are underway into the causes of a major incident on the railway in LLangennech, Wales, where a freight train carrying large quantities of diesel caught fire. British Transport Police were called to the scene at 11.29pm on Wednesday 26 August. Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service and Dyfed-Powys Police are also in attendance. A number of carriges derailed and caught fire. Two employees were on board the freight service. They have since been accounted for and no injuries have been reported. The fire continues and there is still a substantial risk within its immediate vicinity, so our advice remains for people to avoid the area. Our officers will be conducting initial enquiries into the incident and are in the process of securing key witness statements and CCTV.  Once the fire has been extinguished, and the scene is safe to assess and investigate, we’ll be working with the Office of Rail and Road and the Rail Accident Investigation Branch to establish the exact circumstances behind the incident.”

09:31: UPDATE: Dyfed-Powys Police Superintendent Ross Evans  said “My thanks also go to our emergency services colleagues for their response, and partners at the local authority for their assistance in finding and opening Bryn School and Llangennech Community Centre as safe points.

“Officers will continue to be visible in Llangennech, and we will continue to work closely with our colleagues at British Transport Police, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Carmarthenshire Council, and Natural Resources Wales to bring the incident to a conclusion.”

13:06: UPDATE: Fire brigade update Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service remain at the scene of a major incident in Llangennech, Carmarthenshire.
Joint Fire Control received the first call at 11:10pm on Wednesday (Aug 26).
A freight train, carrying large amounts of diesel oil, caught fire and a number of its carriages had also derailed.
British Transport Police, Dyfed-Powys Police, Wales Ambulance Service Trust, Carmarthenshire County Council and Natural Resources Wales have also attended the incident on the railway line near Llangennech.
At the height of the fire, 14 main appliances were deployed to the incident, along with a high-volume pump, a support vehicle, an environmental unit, a water bowser and a foam pad. Firefighters fought the fire from two sectors.
Fire Service operations have since been scaled down to 8 main appliances, a high-volume pump and a foam tender.
As a precaution, roads were shut, and Dyfed-Powys Police evacuated a large number of homes within a radius of the fire.
Area Manager Simon Jenkins, Corporate Head of Response said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to our crews, who have worked tirelessly to fight and contain the fire at a challenging location and in difficult weather circumstances. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the local community for their support and patience to our crews, during what is a very difficult time for local residence and business.”  

13:13: UPDATE: Local County Councillor, Gwyneth Thomas, a former A&E staff nurse, was at the scene overnight to offer help if necessary.  “Due to the fear of an explosion, many local residents had to leave their homes,” she said. “I was hugely impressed by how calm they were. Some carried young children and others took their dogs with them. About 50 were escorted to the local Community Centre and another 15 or so to Ysgol y Bryn school. By about 04:30 this morning they were allowed to return home after the fire was brought under control. It’s very fortunate that the accident didn’t happen closer to Llangennech station where there are more homes, and evacuation of residents would have been more difficult.  Ysgol Llangennech was opened up as a ‘Gold Command’ centre for the numerous emergency service.   I can’t speak too highly of the rapid and efficient way in which the emergency services dealt with such a critical situation. The co-ordination in bringing a potentially very dangerous fire under control and ensuring residents’ safety was superb” said Cllr Thomas. She also praised Carmarthenshire’s Chief Executive officer, Wendy Walters, the two headmasters and other council staff for opening the schools and community centre at such short notice. We’ve not yet heard what caused the derailment, but obviously there’ll be a major investigation,” said Cllr Thomas.   

13:33: UPDATE: Carmarthenshire County Council: “We continue to support emergency services and partner organisations to deal with a major incident in Llangennech. Over a hundred residents were evacuated overnight after a freight train carrying diesel derailed and caught fire. People living within an 800m cordon were asked to leave their homes as a precaution, with a rest centre set up by the council at the nearby local primary school. They have since been allowed to return. Roads around the area were closed for several hours overnight, however only one remains closed – the B4279 Pontarddulais Road, near the Talyclun junction, at Llangennech. British Transport Police are leading the emergency response to the incident, with Dyfed-Powys Police, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Natural Resources Wales, Carmarthenshire County Council and other partner agencies working alongside them. Natural Resources Wales has confirmed it will assess the impact of the diesel spill as soon as it is safe to do so. Further information will be made available throughout the day. Cllr Emlyn Dole, Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, said: “I would like to thank all emergency services, including our officers, for their swift response to this major incident. I thank all residents who have been affected and who co-operated with requests in what was a frightening situation. Thanks also to staff at Llangennech and Bryn primary schools that opened up to support the emergency response. We will continue to work with emergency services and partners to deal with the aftermath of this incident for as long as is necessary.”


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Police: New scientific evidence shows that David Morris was correctly convicted

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SOUTH WALES POLICE say that an independent investigative assessment into the Clydach murders in 1999 have shown that there is a scientific link between David Morris and a sock, widely accepted as being used by the offender during the killings.

David Morris was found guilty of murdering an entire family of four including two young girls.

But potential new witnesses, along with the views of experts, had given campaigners calling for his release fresh hope.

However Morris, 59, died in prison in August.

He spent 22 years in jail for killing Mandy Power, 34, her daughters Katie, 10, and Emily, aged eight, and her 80-year-old mother Doris Dawson.

A bid to again take his case to the Court of Appeal was rejected in 2018 by the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

In July the Crown Prosecution Service said no information had been provided by the potential new witnesses to undermine the conviction.

The review, which was being overseen by Devon and Cornwall Police, was then expected to move on to look at forensic issues also challenged in a recent BBC television documentary about the killings.

Police say that the scientific examination of the sock has identified the presence of a mixed *Y-STR profile using technology which would not have been available to the original investigation team over 20 years ago.

While the presence of a link to Morris (or a male relative of his paternal lineage) and the mixed Y-STR profile has been identified, the science cannot determine how or when this profile was transferred onto the exhibit, but the conclusion of scientists is that it is “more likely” that Morris contributed to the DNA profile found on two different areas of the blood-stained sock than if he did not contribute DNA to them.

Following the tragic events in Kelvin Road, Clydach in June 1999, South Wales Police carried out an extensive investigation into the murders and the scale of the investigation was the largest and most complex ever undertaken by a Welsh police force.

In 2002, David Morris was convicted of the murders by a unanimous verdict at Swansea Crown Court. His conviction was overturned on appeal due to a conflict of interest by a defence solicitor. A retrial was held at Newport Crown Court in 2006 and Morris was convicted again. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.

The matter has been considered by the Criminal Cases Review Commission as recently as 2018. Following a thorough review of the case material they decided not to refer it to the Court of Appeal as no new evidence had been identified.

In November 2020, legal representatives of Morris contacted South Wales Police requesting the release of various exhibits from the investigation.

This request was the subject of careful consideration and the force decided on a course of action which involved the appointment of an independent senior investigating officer and an independent forensic laboratory to oversee a forensic review of the case material.

This work – carried out under the banner of Operation Dolomite – has been led by experienced detectives Steve Carey and Ian Ringrose, supported by police forensic expert David Lloyd, all of whom are from Devon & Cornwall Police. An independent forensic science laboratory, Cellmark Forensic Services, was commissioned to carry out forensic work.

Following the death of David Morris on 20th August 2021, permission was given by his family to obtain a blood sample to allow forensic examinations to take place.

Assistant Chief Constable David Thorne, of South Wales Police, said: “The decision to carry out an investigative assessment did not constitute a reopening or reinvestigation of the murders, nor did it demonstrate any lack of confidence in the conviction of Morris and the subsequent case reviews. Morris was convicted unanimously by a jury on the strength of the prosecution case and independent reviews by the Criminal Cases Review Commission have never identified any evidence which would determine the conviction to be unsafe.

“However, the advancement of forensic technology has provided the opportunity for evidence-based answers to some of the questions which have been raised about forensic issues in this case, along with other matters raised by the BBC Wales documentary ‘Beyond Reasonable Doubt’. The appointment of Steve Carey and his team has ensured the review has been conducted with a layer of independence.”

The outcome of the investigative assessment has been communicated to the victims’ families, the family and legal representatives of Morris and others affected by this case.

Mr Carey said: “My team has carefully examined the issues raised and subject to the terms of reference for Operation Dolomite.

“In the opinion of the forensic scientist regarding these results – which were obtained from samples extracted from two separate areas of the sock at the time of the original forensic examination – it is more likely that David Morris (or a close paternal-line male relative of his) contributed DNA to them than if he did not.

“In relation to one sample, the lead forensic scientist has stated to me that in his opinion the low-level and incomplete mixed Y-STR result is as would be expected if Morris had contributed DNA to it. For another person to have contributed to it, the components must match by chance.

“The scientist would have a very low expectation of selecting a male individual at random from the Western European population having components in their Y-STR profile being represented to the same extent as those in the Y-STR profile of Morris.

“To test this, an evaluative tool developed by Cellmark Forensic Services showed that from a dataset of 9,357 Western European males, no-one is represented to the same extent as the component in the Y-STR profile of Morris.

“It should be noted that the results do not allow the scientist to interpret how the DNA got onto the sock and therefore whether this was through directly touching the item or indirect transfer but the identification of this link has been possible due to the development of technology which would not have been available to the original investigation team.

“This is significant as the sock was recovered from the murder scene and it was widely accepted that it was used by the killer.

“The outcome of the forensic assessment and completion of further actions have not established any information that undermines the conviction of Morris. In my view, as the independent senior investigating officer, the new findings from the samples taken from the sock support the existing evidence that originally convicted him.”

Operation Dolomite also investigated accounts provided by two witnesses who featured in the BBC documentary. They were interviewed by officers and several enquiries were conducted to try and corroborate and support their accounts.  All this evidence was shared with the Crown Prosecution Service. None of the information provided by the witnesses undermines the conviction of Morris.

ACC Thorne added: “Notwithstanding the fact that Morris has been convicted based on overwhelming evidence against him, South Wales Police has shown a commitment to providing evidence-based answers to the issues which have been raised about this case over many years.

“This commitment has now resulted in a forensic link between the convicted killer David Morris and an item of great significance which was recovered from the murder scene. South Wales Police commissioned the review in the hope that we could in some way provide closure for those most affected by the murders. In particular, those who lost three generations of the same family and have had to revisit those painful memories time and time again over the last two decades.

“The findings from Operation Dolomite will be shared with the Criminal Cases Review Commission to complete the due process and demonstrate transparency.  However, in the knowledge of the conclusions drawn from this review, South Wales Police would like to show respect to the family and those affected by these terrible crimes by finalising this case.

“Our thoughts as ever remain with the family of Mandy Power, her children Katie, aged 10, and Emily, eight, and her 80-year-old mother Doris, who still experience such painful memories even to this day.”

Following the refusal by the CPS to look at new evidence before David Morris died, Janiene Morris, one of David Morris’s two daughters, said: “This is another massive blow to dad’s case and as a family we just don’t understand it.”

She said at the time that the evidence of a taxi driver who had sighted unidentified people near the murder scene had been discounted. In all, she said there were three witnesses that had placed others near the murder scene on the night of the killings.

“We’ve never met them and don’t want to because we want to do things properly. These witnesses have was not involved with anyone in the case and have absolutely no reason to lie. I cannot express how angry and frustrated we are right now. It is so frustrating, but we’re not going to take it lying down”.

Speaking in July, Janiene said: “He is up and down. He has good days and and bad days. Sometimes he is just exhausted with everything that is going on. We are looking forward to seeing him.”

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Moving the Welsh Economy Forward: “A Team Wales recovery, built by all of us” – Economy Minister

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THE WELSH GOVERNMENT will pursue a progressive economic policy that focuses on better jobs, narrowing the skills divide and tackling poverty, Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething, will say today.

At a hybrid Economic Summit, the Minister has invited businesses, trades unions and local government leaders to discuss how Wales can create a stronger, fairer, greener economic future.

In setting out his vision to move the Welsh economy forward, the Minister will commit to extending a Team Wales model to offer ‘as much certainty as possible’ for businesses facing a volatile recovery.  

He will promise a new era of partnership to strengthen regional economic development, a delivery plan to back the everyday economy and wide ranging support for workers in a fast changing economy.

The Welsh Government will work with unions and business to develop it’s ‘something for something’ approach so that Welsh public money is wedded to action on fair work, decarbonisation and skills.

The Minister will also start a conversation about the long term demographic challenge facing the Welsh economy. The proportion of the population aged 16 to 64 years old in Wales has been decreasing year-on-year since mid-2008 – and could be just 58% of the population by 2043.

In response, Welsh Ministers’ approach will be geared towards creating an economy where more young people feel confident about planning their future in Wales thus supporting job creation and more dynamic local economies.

The Welsh Government will set out a vision of what makes Wales an attractive place to live, study, work and invest – including the quality of life in an inclusive, open and green nation.

The Welsh Government will also call on the Chancellor to demonstrate the UK Government’s ambition for Wales by honouring promises made on EU successor funds, backing major renewables such as tidal energy and investing in Welsh research and development.

Later, the Minister will visit a family-run business that’s received Welsh Government support to grow, before delivering a speech to a predominantly virtual audience of business, trades unions and local government leaders and other partners at Transport for Wales’ new HQ in Pontypridd.

Speaking ahead of the summit, Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething said: “The Welsh Government is taking bold action to build a stronger, fairer, greener Welsh economy. It has taken a Team Wales effort to keep Wales safe and we will deliver a Team Wales Recovery, built by all of us. 

“A strong Welsh recovery will be based on the principles of fair work and sustainability as we invest in the industries and services of the future.

“As we face the headwinds of Brexit, I am determined that our credible plans will offer as much certainty as possible to help businesses plan ahead. 

“A new era of partnership for stronger regions, a young person’s guarantee, a plan to back our everyday economy and collaboration with world leading, advanced manufacturing. This is the cause for optimism for the future we are building in Wales.

“My ambition is to make Wales a place where more young people feel confident in planning their future here. You don’t have to get out to get on, make your future here in Wales.”

The Welsh Government’s approach includes:

  • Investing in our people – through the Young Person’s Guarantee and a strong employability and skills offer, including Apprenticeships;
  • Supporting those furthest away from the Labour market to find work. The upcoming Employability Strategy will highlight the support available for individuals, particularly those most impacted by the pandemic and furthest away from the labour market;
  • Accelerating the adaptation to new skills which are required for skilled, secure jobs, not least in the area of low carbon. The current recruitment challenge has also shown there is a need for some quick action on skills in certain sectors;
  • Exploring how we retain our graduates and talent in Wales by building strong linkages with universities, and between universities and businesses;
  • Support start-ups, including graduate start-ups, with possible incentives in some areas;
  • Ensure we have firms grounded in Wales who can provide future opportunities;
  • Wales can also benefit from the opportunities for far greater remote working and flexible commuting options.
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Welsh Conservatives pay tribute to murdered MP, Sir David Amess

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THE WELSH CONSERVATIVES have released a statement following the murder of serving Member of Parliament, Sir David Amess on Friday (Oct 15).

Paul Davies MS said: “We are horrified by the death of Sir David Amess.

“Sir David was a much-respected and well-liked MP who cared deeply about serving his constituents, something he had done with distinction for nearly four decades.

“One of the longest-serving Members of Parliament, his contribution to public life was vast and he will be sorely missed by those in Southend and in the Conservative Party.

Paul Davies MS said: “We are horrified by the death of Sir David Amess (Pictured)

“Sadly, this shocking and abhorrent incident once again highlights the dangers that public servants can face, all of whom should be able to conduct such duties helping those they represent in safety.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends. May he rest in peace.”

Stephen Crabb MP took to social media to say: “Love and prayers for the family of Sir David Amess MP this afternoon. Just devastating. Funny, wise, compassionate, and such a good friend to so many of us.

“It was a delight to interview Sir David Amess back in May for a virtual book launch for his autobiography. So much warmth, humanity and love of the job he did so assiduously for almost 40 years. Parliament has lost one of its finest today.”

The MP for Southend West was stabbed at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, in Essex. He was there for one of his regular Friday meetings with his constituents.

Just 15 minutes before the attack, the 69-year-old was standing on the church steps, chatting and laughing with locals.

At around 12:05 PM, Sir David walked into the church alongside two female members of his staff to meet some more constituents.

Local councillor John Lamb said that it was then that the attacker emerged from a small group of waiting constituents and attacked Sir David, stabbing him several times.

“I’m told that when he went in for his surgery there were people waiting to see him, and one of them literally got a knife out and just began stabbing him,” Mr Lamb said.

Police arrived at the scene in Eastwood Road North within minutes where they found the MP with multiple injuries and arrested a man.

“We knew it must be very serious because the paramedics had been working on Sir David for over two and a half hours and they hadn’t got him on the way to hospital,” Mr Lamb told the PA news agency.

At 14:13 an air ambulance arrived at a nearby sports ground to move him to hospital. However, members of his team began to fear the worst as paramedics remained at the scene.

Shortly before 15:00, Essex Police said Sir David had died.

At a press conference later Chief Constable BJ Harrington said officers and paramedics had worked extremely hard to save the MP.

Questions are now being raised about security arrangements for politicians working in their constituencies.

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