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Dancer jailed after blackmailing man over affair

A dancer from Merthyr who blackmailed a married man by threatening to tell his wife about their secret affair has been jailed.

Kimberly O' Leary was jailed for 16 months and handed a restraining order. Credit: South Wales Police

30-year-old Kimberly O'Leary demanded her lover pay her more than £4,000 to buy her silence.

But Merthyr Crown Court heard the married man eventually reported her to police after she asked for more money and had posted messages on the Facebook page where he worked.

"The man had received a number of text messages, phone calls and a voice mail from O'Leary demanding money to keep quiet about the affair they had had...He felt harassed and distressed by the contact. He paid the money in the hope that would end things."

– Rachel Knight, Prosecuting

O'Leary, of Gurnos, Merthyr, admitted blackmail with menaces between August 1, 2014 and January 22, 2015.

"There was a naivety on her behalf as to how serious a situation it was...This has been a salutary lesson for her."

– Paul Jenkins, Defending

She was jailed for 16 months and given a restraining order banning her from contacting her victim.

"You are a menace and a woman who is prepared to stop at nothing...Blackmail was once described as attempted murder of the soul and that's what you chose to inflict on this gentleman...You bombarded him with messages causing pain and misery."

– Judge Philip Richards


Wedding dress display to mark restoration of church

The church has had limited use since the sixties.

A display of wedding dresses dating back 50 years is to be staged this weekend at a Methyr Tydfil church to mark its restoration to full service.

St Tydfil's Old Parish Church, which dates back to the 19th Century was closed for worship in the 1960s when nearby St David's became the parish church. Since then it's had limited use.

The wedding dress display will be staged in the church today, with events continuing through the weekend, culminating with a mass at 6pm tomorrow.

"St Tydfil's Old Parish Church is a much loved church in the centre of Merthyr Tydfil and I know that people will value the opportunity to worship here again and hopefully it will find its place again in the heart of the community."

– Archdeacon Christopher Smith
It's hoped the church will return to being a focal point of the community.

Man tried to grab child in Merthyr park investigation

Police have released an image of a man they want to question after receiving reports that a man tried to grab an 11 year-old girl in Merthyr.

The assault is said to have happened on Tuesday afternoon. Credit: South Wales Police

Police say the incident happened at Cyfarthfa Park on Tuesday at the Splash Park just after 3pm.

The girl was playing near the children's climbing frame and is said to be shocked but unhurt by the incident.

The suspect – who is reported to have run off into woods - is described as being between 30 and 40 years-old, around 5ft 10 with an average build.

He had a distinctive mark – possibly a mole – on the right side of his nose and was wearing a grey hooded top with black trousers.

It is understandable that the community is alarmed – this incident causes us concern and we are a taking it very seriously. However, we are urging people to remain calm while we investigate the exact circumstances of what happened. Of course, parents should be alert to the situation.

– Inspector John Diffey

Officers have carried out house to house enquiries and have also stepped-up patrols in the area.

Health board apologises to family of Thomas Smith

Cwm Taf University Health Board has apologised after '*gross failures' were made at one of its hospitals *when a 13-year-old boy died whilst suffering with meningitis.

Allison Williams, Chief Executive at the health board said:

“I would like to extend my sincere apologies to the parents of Thomas George Smith for the loss of their son.“This is an extremely sad case and we deeply regret that there were failings in the care that Thomas received whilst at Prince Charles Hospital.

“As noted during the inquest, the Health Board undertook an investigation which identified lessons learned and recommendations to ensure this will never happen again.

“A number of changes have already been made to address the failings identified.

“Following the conclusion of the inquest, the Health Board will now consider the Coroner’s findings and continue to implement the changes required to address any failings in service.”


Hospital made 'gross failures' over death of schoolboy

A Merthyr hospital made 'gross failures' over the death of a schoolboy who was given headache tablets instead of antibiotics for meningitis, a coroner has ruled.

13-year-old Thomas Smith died in May 2013 Credit: Wales News

Talented football player Thomas Smith, from Hednesford in Staffordshire was taken to Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil complaining of six tell-tale signs of meningitis including a headache and a stiff neck.

An inquest heard doctors failed to diagnose the illness and start treatment with antibiotics for more than four hours. Thomas, who had been on a family holiday to Wales, never recovered from the infection and later died at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff on his birthday.

A coroner has now criticised the hospital, for failing the schoolboy in their duty of care.

Coroner Christopher Woolley said:

"The failure to administer antibiotics does amount to a gross failure of care.

"Antibiotics should have been given without delay.

"Where meningitis is suspected, it's essential antibiotics are given immediately. The need for basic medical attention in this form was obvious."

Mr Woolley said he was concerned about 'further deaths' at Prince Charles Hospital and ordered a report.

But he said it was not a case of 'neglect' and even if Thomas had been given antibiotics he would probably have still died.He recorded a conclusion of natural causes.

Two more women arrested over elderly patient's death

Two more people have been arrested after an elderly woman suffered a 'serious and unexplained' injury at a hospital in Rhondda Cynon Taf and later died.

South Wales Police has confirmed that two women, aged 58 and 62, were arrested on Thursday 18 June, on suspicion of assault and conspiring to pervert the course of justice, and have since been released on bail.

The police investigation centres on Ysbyty Cwm Cynon in Mountain Ash.

Tegwen Roderick, 88 and from Abercanaid in Merthyr Tydfil, died at the town's Prince Charles Hospital, after police said she suffered a 'serious and unexplained' injury at Ysbyty Cwm Cynon at the end of May.

South Wales Police says a 52-year-old women arrested on 13 June on suspicion of assault and conspiring to pervert the course of justice, and a 64-year-old man arrested on 16 June on suspicion of conspiring to pervert the course of justice are also on bail pending further enquiries.

Tegwen Roderick death: Two arrested in police probe

Police have confirmed two people have been arrested after an elderly woman suffered a 'serious and unexplained' injury in hospital and later died.

Tegwen Roderick, 88, died at Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil on June 4 after suffering an "unexplained and serious injury" at Ysbyty Cwm Cynon, Mountain Ash, at the end of May .

A 52-year-old woman was arrested on Friday on suspicion of assault and conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

An 88-year-old woman sustained injuries at Ysbyty Cwm Cynon at the end of May

A 64-year-old man was arrested today on suspicion of conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

Both have been bailed.

10 employees at Ysbyty Cwm Cynon were suspended initially.

Six have since had their suspensions lifted.

Six suspensions lifted in hospital investigation

Six of the ten staff suspended as part of the investigation into the death of a elderly woman in hospital have had their suspensions lifted, the health board says.

Cwm Taf University Health Board's chief executive Allison Williams said arrangements are being made for those six to return to work.

In investigations such as this, staff may be suspended as a precautionary measure. As is normal practice in any investigation such suspensions are reviewed on an ongoing basis.

We can confirm that six suspensions have already been lifted today and arrangements are being made for those staff to return to work. We will continue to review the remaining suspensions as the investigation proceeds.

– Allison Williams, Cwm Taf University Health Board
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