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Drink-driver jailed for causing death of colleague by dangerous driving

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A DRINK-DRIVER who caused the death of a colleague when he crashed his car following a Christmas party has been jailed for seven-and-a-half years.

Meirion Emerson Roberts aged 26, of Heol Las, Ammanford, has today been sentenced at Swansea Crown Court, following his conviction on 24 February for causing the death of Lewis Morgan, aged 20, by dangerous driving.

Both Roberts and Lewis had attended their work’s Christmas party during the afternoon of Friday, 4th December 2020, and had left the Cottage Inn, near Llandeilo at around 6pm. 

Lewis had arranged a lift home with his brother, while Roberts decided to drive his Vauxhall Corsa after consuming at least five or six pints of cider. 

He later drove to Lewis’s home in Carmarthen, where he consumed more alcohol before going for a drive with Lewis in the passenger seat.

Snapchat footage shown to the court during the trial showed Roberts speeding throughout the journey, reaching speeds of 100mph whilst drinking alcohol at the wheel on the A48 between Carmarthen and Cross Hands.

While driving through the village of Blaenau, towards Ammanford, Roberts lost control of his car and collided with a lamppost, completely severing it at the base, before going on to collide with a garden wall, completely destroying it. 

Tragically, Lewis sustained fatal injuries and died at the scene.

Roberts had argued during his trial that his driving had only amounted to careless driving, however, the jury returned an unanimous guilty verdict and convicted him of causing death by dangerous driving.

Sentencing Roberts, His Honour Judge Christopher Vosper QC told him that despite having consumed alcohol he did not attempt to moderate his driving, instead choosing to drive at excess speed, which ultimately caused him to lose control of his vehicle, resulting in the death of his work colleague Lewis Morgan.

Lewis’s family, in their victim impact statement, said: “Not only have we gone through the trauma of losing Lewis but the ordeal of a full trial has been heart-breaking. 

“Our suffering has been extended, prolonged.

“This has been incredibly difficult.”

His sister described Lewis as “the brightest, the most beautiful of us all and he never left the house without the biggest smile on his face”.

HHJ Vosper QC sentenced Roberts to seven and a half years imprisonment and disqualified him from driving for 6 years and 9 months, with the requirement to pass an extended test before he has his licence returned.

Sgt Sara John, from Dyfed Powys Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “As always, our thoughts are with Lewis’s family at this difficult time. 

“No sentence passed by the court could adequately reflect the grief inflicted on them by Meirion Roberts. 

“His arrogant decision to drive his vehicle whilst drunk has taken Lewis away from them forever, something that they will have to live with for the rest of their lives. 

“Drink-driving is never acceptable and is something that we see time and time again destroying lives. 

“This case has sadly proved that getting behind the wheel of your car whilst drunk has devastating consequences.”

Anyone who has concerns about someone they believe to be driving under the influence are asked to contact police on 101 (or 999 if they are posing an imminent danger) or alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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Health

Those eligible for the Spring Covid-19 booster should get jabbed by end of June

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ALL those eligible for the Spring Covid-19 booster are being urged to take up their offer of the vaccine before the end of next month.

A deadline of 30 June has been introduced to ensure all those eligible for the spring booster will have a long-enough interval between this and the autumn 2022 booster, if they are also eligible.

An announcement by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) about which groups will be eligible for the autumn booster is due to be published shortly.

The JCVI has advised that people over-75, older care home residents and all those aged 12 years and over who are immunosuppressed are eligible for the spring booster.

Those who are 75 on or before 30 June, can get their booster at any point up to the deadline.

Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: “It is important we continue our very high take up levels of the vaccine to help protect us against the risk of serious illness from Covid-19. I would urge everyone who is offered a spring booster vaccination takes up the invitation.”

If someone eligible for a spring booster has had a Covid infection recently, they will need to wait 28 days from the date they tested positive before they can be vaccinated. They will still be able to get vaccinated after 30 June as part of this campaign if they have to postpone their appointment.

All those eligible for spring boosters will be invited by their health board or GP.

It is not too late for anyone who needs a primary dose (first, second or third) to be vaccinated.

Please check for local arrangements.

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Health

Young people in Wales being failed when moving from child to adult mental health services

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MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES are failing young people when they move from child to adult services, says a mental health charity.

Mind Cymru is calling for Welsh Government to make urgent changes to improve the system.

Nia Evans, Children and Young People Manager at Mind Cymru, said: “Young people have told us that their needs, thoughts, and feelings about moving to adult services are often unheard, or ignored.

“Welsh Government must support Local Health Boards to make sure this doesn’t happen, change the way services are run and make sure our young people are being heard and properly cared for.”

Mind Cymru has published a report, in ate the result of interviews with young people about their experiences of moving from Specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services – (SCAMHS) to AMHS.

They highlighted five key areas where services are failing young people:
– Poor information offered to young people, particularly on their rights
– Inconsistent use and follow through of care and treatment plans
– High thresholds for SCAMHS and AMHS referrals to be accepted
– Feeling abandoned / cut off from SCAMHS
– Age still dominates decision making process for moving from SCAMHS to AMHS

Nia Evans said: “Any one of these issues could make the process of moving from children’s services to adult services difficult for our young people. But often, more than one is happening at any one time.”

“Our young people have a right to care and support from a mental health system that has been put in place to help them recover. Action must be taken immediately to make sure support systems are robust and doing the job they were designed to do.”

Mind Cymru is asking people to email their Member of the Senedd (MS) and amplify the voices of these young people whose experiences are often unheard, and use the #SortTheSwitch hashtag on social media.

The full report is available here, including what a good move from SCAMHS to AMHS would look like for young people, and where the current system could improve.

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Business

Average UK price of diesel hits record of more than £1.80 a litre

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LESS than two months after Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a 5p a litre cut on the average price of fuel – diesel prices have reached a record high price of 180.29p a litre.
The previous high of 179.90p was recorded on March 23rd 2022 – the day of the Spring Statement from Sunak.

In recent weeks, the UK government has tried to move away from its reliance on importing Russian oil, following President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Worryingly for drivers of petrol cars, the price per litre is fast approaching the record levels of 167.3p per litre set on March 22nd.

This latest price rise adds another challenge to UK households, as the cost of living crisis continues to impact families across the country.

RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams said: “Sadly, despite the Chancellor’s 5p a litre duty cut the average price of a litre of diesel has hit a new record high at 180.29p.”

“Efforts to move away from importing Russian diesel have led to a tightening of supply and pushed up the price retailers pay for diesel.”

“While the wholesale price has eased in the last few days this is likely to be temporary, especially if the EU agrees to ban imports of Russian oil.”

“Unfortunately, drivers with diesel vehicles need to brace themselves for yet more pain at the pumps. Had Mr Sunak reduced VAT to 15% as we call on him to do instead of cutting duty by 5p, drivers of diesel vehicles would be around 2p a litre better off, or £1 for every full tank.”

“As it is, drivers are still paying 27p VAT on petrol and 29p on diesel, which is just the same as before the Spring Statement.”

“The average price of petrol is also on the rise having gone up nearly 3p a litre since the start of the month to 166.65p which means it’s less than a penny away from the all-time high of 167.30p set on 22 March.”

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