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MOD misses deadline in Welsh soldier inquest

Pte Cheryl James was undergoing initial training at Deepcut when she died in 1995. Credit: Family Photo

The Ministry of Defence has failed to meet a promised deadline for submitting crucial documents for an inquest into the death of a teenage soldier at an army barracks, a court has heard.

Private Cheryl James, from Llangollen, was found with a bullet wound to her head at Deepcut Barracks in Surrey in 1995. She was 18 and undergoing initial training. An inquest is now underway after an open verdict - recorded in December 1995 - was quashed in the High Court.

Private James was one of four soldiers who died at the barracks between 1995 and 2002 amid claims of bullying and abuse. Privates Sean Benton, James Collinson and Geoff Gray also died from gunshot wounds

At a pre-inquest review at Woking Coroner's Court, Private James's father Des James said he was "disappointed" by the failure of the MoD to supply the documents by the agreed deadline.

Read more on this story on ITV News's national site.


Katherine Jenkins to headline Llangollen 2016

This year's festival is underway this week - and it's just been announced that Katherine Jenkins will open next year's Llangollen Eisteddfod. The mezzo soprano will fulfil a lifelong dream with a performance of the opera Carmen.

Fiery gypsy: Katherine is excited about playing Carmen next year Credit: Ceidiog PR

The mezzo soprano says she's delighted to return to the iconic festival for the first time in six years.

She will perform a concert version of Georges Bizet's opera Carmen on the opening night of the 2016 Eisteddfod. The opera tells the tale of the downfall of Don José, a naïve soldier seduced by the fiery Gypsy.

I’m really excited as it something I always wanted to do. I studied Carmen at the Royal Academy of Music before I graduated. It’s special as it was written for a mezzo soprano.

I’ve always talked about doing this and it will be the first time fans will be able to hear all the arias in one evening.

I do usually include several operatic arias in my concerts but I have never condensed and performed all the arias from a single opera into one concert.

It’s something I’m really looking forward to; it’s always been a dream of mine to perform Carmen.

– Katherine Jenkins OBE

Tickets for the 2016 concert will be going on sale via the Llangollen Eisteddfod's website at 12 noon on Monday July 13.

Fresh inquest into Welsh soldier's death due next year

A new inquest into the death of a teenage soldier from North Wales will be held early next year, a coroner ruled today.

Private Cheryl James, 18 and from Llangollen, died at Deepcut Barracks in Surrey in November 1995.

She was found dead, with a single gunshot wound, in mysterious circumstances.

An open verdict recorded at an initial inquest, held just weeks after her death, has since been quashed.

Pte Cheryl James was undergoing initial training at Deepcut when she died, nearly 20 years ago. Credit: Family photograph

At a pre-inquest review in Woking today, coroner Brian Barker ruled that the inquest will take place in isolation, despite a request from Surrey Police for it to be held concurrently with those into the deaths of three other recruits at the barracks between 1995 and 2002.

Pte James' family supported that ruling, but say they are "dismayed" that no decision has yet been taken on whether to exhume her body.

They believe the colour of bullet fragments which may still exist in her head could be vital, and prove she did not commit suicide.

Alison Foster QC, representing her family, said: "From our standpoint, an exhumation would be necessary for you to carry out a full and proper inquiry."

The coroner said he would wait for a doctor's report before deciding whether the "difficult and unusual" step should be taken to exhume Pte James' body.

The new inquest is due to begin on 1 February next year, and examine the barracks' policies on sexual behaviour, supervision of young females, drugs, alcohol and accommodation.

Calls for law to 'protect' countryside from off-roaders

A campaign's been launched calling for new laws to help protect the wild uplands of north east Wales from off-roading.

The Llangollen-based 'Save Our Paths' group says the number of off-roaders coming to the region is growing, with paths and countryside being damaged.

Ian Lang reports.

Welsh countryside 'blighted' by off-road drivers

A community in Llangollen say off-roaders are blighting the countryside and causing damage to the environment.

The residents from Pengwern Estate have now started campaign to put an end to motorbikes and 4x4s driving in the area.

Residents say off-roaders are blighting Llangollen. Credit: PA

The Save Our Path campaign will hold a meeting tonight at the Llangollen town hall in a bid to tackle the problem.

Residents say the noise has made living in the valley unbearable.

Our valley has become unbearable for residents, most particularly at weekends.

Locals have to be on high alert for their safety when walking, cycling or horse-riding around the Pengwern Vale or accessing their properties.

– Edwina Hart, Save Our Path member


Body recovered from disused quarry in Llangollen

The body of a man has been recovered from a disused quarry in the Llangollen area.

The man, who has yet to be identified but is believed to be from the Leicestershire area, was diving yesterday afternoon with two others at Aber Las in the Natyr area of Llangollen, when he got into difficulties.

Ambulance crew alerted police to the incident after the alarm was raised by the man's co-divers.

“During the early hours of this morning the body of a man was recovered from the disused quarry. The next of kin have been informed. North Wales Police are not treating the death as suspicious at this time however officers will continue to undertake inquiries on behalf of the Coroner. A file will be submitted in due course.”

– Siobhan Edwards, Temporary Chief Inspector, North Wales Police

Audience applaud surprise proposal at festival

David proposes to Elise before concert goes at Llangollen.

Festival goers in Llangollen got more entertainment than they bargained for when a Wrexham man proposed to his girlfriend before a concert began.

As an audience of thousands looked on as 28-year-old David Jackson of Ruabon, went up on stage and down on one knee to romantically pop the question to Elise Davies, 26, at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod.

Elise said, “I had no idea David was going to ask me to marry him, especially in such a public place. I was absolutely gobsmacked when he did it and couldn’t speak for a few seconds but then I said yes because the whole thing was so romantic.”

The audience at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod cheered them on.

The couple haven't named the day just yet as they are waiting for their first baby to be born.

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