Rapist convicted of mistaken arson

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North Wales Police

A convicted rapist who went on the run after setting fire to a woman’s home has been found guilty of arson.

Mold Crown Court heard Richard Pentraeth had tried to seek revenge on a witness who had given evidence against him in an earlier trial, only to find he had got the wrong address.

The 64 year-old from Cheltenham had admitted reckless arson but denied intending to endanger life.

Prosecutors said Pentraeth travelled to North Wales after he heard the address of a rape victim during proceedings at Woolwich Crown Court. They alleged he had tried to track her down for years both at home and abroad and had threatened to kill her if she revealed what had happened.

When he reached the house, he poured an accelerant through the letterbox and lit a piece of wood. The mother was woken up by the sound, walked downstairs and came face to face with Pentraeth, who walked away after picking up the piece of wood. The accelerant had caused damage to the door.

Police later found a paraffin bottle with Pentraeth’s DNA and discovered he had sent a threatening message on Facebook before the attack. He told officers he only wanted to scare the woman into telling the truth, rather than rape or kill her.

 

Giving evidence, Pentraeth denied starting the fire to cause further harm and visiting the house beforehand to plan the arson attack. He told the court that when he realised he had the wrong address: ”It was the wrong lady. Don’t rely on Google maps.”

The defence claimed his trips abroad had been innocent because of his work as a professional chess player at tournaments, where he would also sell books on the sport. They argued the jury could not be sure about whether or not he intended to hurt her.

Pentraeth was remanded in custody until sentencing for rape, indecent assault and arson at Manchester Crown Court next Tuesday. Judge Nic Parry said the judge at the earlier trial would conduct proceedings and a psychiatric report was ordered.

 

 

Source: Daily Post

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Police search for Rhyl flasher

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Police in Rhyl are looking for a man who exposed himself to a teenage girl.

The girl was walking along Trellewelyn Road at just before 5.30pm on Tuesday evening when the man indecently exposed himself while he was sitting in a car. The girl walked away while the car was last seen making its way towards the A525 Vale Road.

The suspect is described as between 20 and 30 years old and of medium build – he was wearing a black long-sleeved jumper, black jogging bottoms and black baseball cap. His car was described as a small silver vehicle with rear tinted windows.

The incident comes just days after three cases of indecent exposure in and around Bangor this month – a 24 year-old man has since been charged and appeared in court on Monday.

Officers have been carrying out enquiries in the area and are appealing for anyone who saw the car or anyone with information to call 101, quoting reference no. V074319.

 

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Man found guilty of Mark Mason murder

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Family photo: North Wales Police

A Liverpool man has been found guilty of the murder of Mark Mason.

James Davies from Stoneycroft denied the fatal stabbing of the father-of-two outside Home Bargains last October – the 20 year-old was convicted unanimously by a jury following five days of deliberations at Mold Crown Court.

Anthony Baines (30) from Kensington and Mark Ennis (30) from Walton were cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter. Baines, said to be the leader of a drug dealing gang known as the Pensarn crew, was found guilty by a majority verdict.

A fourth man, Jake Melia from Aintree, admitted all charges, including maliciously wounding two other men, Justin Trickett and Sam Illidge, with intent. Baines was also convicted of unlawful wounding, while Ennis and Davies were cleared.

The trial heard Mr Mason had been killed in a ”turf war” between rival drug gangs in Rhyl – he died in hospital after suffering 22 stab wounds. The three defendants had run their operation from a ‘safe house’ at a flat on Wellington Road.

All four men will be sentenced during a three-day hearing – they were remanded in custody until a later date.

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Blue Flag and Green awards for North Wales beaches

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Prestatyn Central’s beach has retained its Blue Flag status in this year’s Wales Coast Awards.

The beach is among a record fifty sites in Wales – and the only one in Denbighshire – to receive the prestigious status for the highest water quality and safety.

Two other beaches in the area – Sandy Cove in Kinmel Bay and Pensarn beach in Abergele – were given Green Coast awards for high environmental standards, but Marine Lake in Rhyl lost its status.

Among the key Blue Flag winners were Blue Ocean Adventures in St Davids and Ribride at Menai Bridge – the first sustainable boat tour operators to gain such status.

Keep Wales Tidy CEO, Lesley Jones, said: ”The Wales Coast Awards play a vital role in the continuing growth of coastal and marine tourism. They act as a mark of excellence, ensuring sites are managed effectively and showcasing our beautiful country to an international audience. Visitors to our award-winning beaches, marinas and boat tour operators can be sure they have arrived at a quality destination.”

Enivronment Secretary, Lesley Griffiths, added: ”We all know Wales has some of the most stunning coastline anywhere in the world. Our beaches and coastal areas have long been a magnet for visitors from far and wide as well as being hugely popular with local communities. The fact 50 sites can now proudly fly the Blue Flag and 98 sites in total have been recognised for the quality of their water and facilities is excellent news. This can only have a positive effect on tourism and, in turn, provide a welcome boost for the economy.”

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Urdd Eisteddfod 2017: competitors’ countdown to Bridgend

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Hundreds of competitors across the North Wales Coast are making final preparations ahead of this year’s Urdd National Eisteddfod in Bridgend.

After last year’s event in Flint, which attracted 90,000 people, one of Europe’s biggest youth festivals will be heading south to Pencoed during summer half-term week.

Denbighshire County Council has sent a good luck message to local competitors who have reached the national finals after competing in local and regional Eisteddfodau.

The council’s head of children’s services, Karen Evans, said: ”Yet again this year, there has been a wealth of talent on offer at the various eisteddfodau held in the county.  Pupils, teachers and parents have worked tirelessly to prepare for the heats and I would like to congratulate everyone on their efforts so far. 

”To reach the national heats is a great testament to the amount of good work going on and our pupils will be great ambassadors for Denbighshire and for Welsh language culture. I would like to wish them the best of luck down in Bridgend.”

We’ll be providing a full local results service at pointfm.co.uk throughout the Urdd National Eisteddfod.

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Missing Prestatyn woman found

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Family photo: North Wales Police

A Prestatyn woman who went missing from her home has been found safe.

A major search was launched after Tracey Chapman-Schneider disappeared on Thursday lunchtime. Specialist search teams and the North Wales Police helicopter were among those involved.

The police control room in St Asaph reported that the 51 year-old had been found in the Prestatyn area in the early hours of Friday. They have thanked the public for their help.

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Major search for missing Prestatyn woman

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Family photo: North Wales Police

A search is continuing for a missing woman from Prestatyn.

Police say they are increasingly concerned for the welfare of Tracey Chapman-Schneider, who was reported missing from her home at around 1.30pm on Thursday lunchtime.

Specialist volunteer search teams have combed the Prestatyn area along with police officers, search dogs and the North Wales Police helicopter.

Mrs Chapman-Schneider (51) is described as around 5’6” tall and very slim with brown bobbed hair and brown eyes. It’s believed she was last seen wearing a red coat.

 

Chief Inspector Paul Jones said on Thursday evening: ”A multi-agency search has been ongoing since Tracey was reported missing this afternoon, but so far this has proved unsuccessful.”

Anyone with information about her whereabouts should contact North Wales Police on 101, quoting reference no. V071290. Alternatively, contact the police control room in St Asaph via the force’s online webchat.

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Jury deliberating in Mark Mason murder trial

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Family photo: North Wales Police

The jury in the Mark Mason murder trial are into a third day of deliberations.

Six men and six women retired to consider their verdicts last Thursday morning. Three men from Liverpool deny the fatal stabbing of the Rhyl father-of-two last October.

James Davies (21) of Stoneycroft, Anthony Baines (31) of Kensington and Mark Ennis (30) of Walton also deny maliciously wounding Justin Trickett and Sam Illidge with intent.

A fourth man, Jake Melia (21) from Aintree, has pleaded guilty to all charges and is awaiting sentencing.

The judge, Mrs Justice Nicola Davies, spent two days summing up the evidence at Mold Crown Court. She told the jury on Thursday to take as long as they need to reach a decision.

After a delay in their deliberations on Friday, the jury were sent home for the weekend. They reconvened on Monday after a large screen TV was installed to examine CCTV footage.

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Ex-First Minister Rhodri Morgan dies

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The former First Minister of Wales, Rhodri Morgan, has died at the age of 77.

The ex-Cardiff West MP, elected in 1987, became an AM when the Welsh Assembly was founded in 1999. Nine months later, he became First Secretary and the leader of the Welsh Labour party following the resignation of Alun Michael.

Mr Morgan served three terms in the Assembly – entering coalition governments with the Welsh Liberal Democrats in 2000 and Plaid Cymru in 2007. He stepped down as First Minister in 2009, shortly after his 70th birthday. After retiring from politics two years later, he became chancellor of Swansea University. He was married to the Labour AM for Cardiff North, Julie Morgan, with two daughters and a son.

Mr Morgan’s death was announced shortly after the ITV Cymru Wales general election debate involving five Welsh party leaders on Wednesday night. Labour, the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru suspended campaigning on Thursday as a mark of respect.

Books of condolence have also been opened at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay – where flags are flying at half mast – and at the Assembly’s North Wales offices in Colwyn Bay. A minute’s silence was also held in the Senedd at 12.30pm.

His successor as First Minister, Carwyn Jones, said: ”Wales hasn’t just lost a great politician, we’ve lost a real father figure. In very many ways Rhodri wasn’t like other politicians, and that is why people warmed to him, trusted him and felt like they knew him so well. He was funny, clever, engaging on almost any topic and absolutely passionate about all things Welsh.”

”I owe him a great deal, just as we all do in Wales. He did so much to fight for, and then establish devolution in the hearts and minds of the public in our country. His bright confidence was infectious, and we can see much of Rhodri’s can-do attitude in our modern Wales. That first decade of self-governance, and making distinct choices for Wales will forever be associated with his leadership.”

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said: ”Rhodri Morgan was much respected across the political spectrum and led Wales with distinction during a crucial period in Welsh history. I extend my condolences on behalf of everyone in Plaid Cymru to his family.”

Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies described Mr Morgan as ”a giant of devolved politics in Wales” while the Welsh Secretary of State – and former AM – Alun Cairns called him ”a significant politician” and ”great servant to Wales”.

Lord Hain, former Welsh Secretary for Labour, said as first minister, he was both ”the father of devolution and the father of the nation. ”He did more than anyone to bed down and ensure the new Welsh Assembly gained widespread legitimacy.” Former Deputy First Minister, Mike German, described Mr Morgan as ”a strong opponent but a great friend”.

Ieuan Wyn Jones, who became deputy upon forming the Labour-Plaid coalition ten years ago, said ”He was very easy to work with, and he was very likeable, extremely loyal and highly knowledgeable. It wasn’t easy for him to deliver the coalition in sections of his party, but Rhodri stood firm and we agreed a very progressive programme of government.”

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‘Significant arrests’ in Rhyl serious crime crackdown

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Police in Rhyl say there have been ‘significant’ arrests in a high profile crackdown on serious and organised crime in the town.

Detectives said a major operation took place on Wednesday in an effort to tackle cross-border crime, carrying dangerous and offensive weapons, criminal use of firearms and drug supply.

No further details of the arrests are available but a spokesperson said dedicated units and ANPR technology had been deployed to disrupt offenders who had caused the most harm in the community. They added that because the road networks provided easy access into Rhyl and the wider community, targeting criminals in such way would have ”immediate and far reaching consequences”.

 

District Inspector Arwyn Williams said the operation was one of a number of tactics being used to crackdown on organised crime: ”Recent events have only highlighted the challenges we continue to face in keeping Rhyl safe…whilst members of the public can feel reassured by our activity, those individuals causing harm should know that we are being proactive in our efforts to convict them.”

Anyone with information about any unusual or suspicious activity is urged to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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