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  1. Rob Shelley

Trial begins of husband accused of wife's murder

John Yates admits manslaughter but denies a charge of murder Credit: Robin Fornstone

The trial of a man who handed himself in to North Wales police having driven from his Warrington home to St Asaph with the body of his estranged wife has started in Caernarfon Crown Court today.

John Yates, 58, admits manslaughter but denies a charge of murder.

Opening the case for the prosecution, barrister Wyn Lloyd Jones told the jury that the couple had been together for 3 decades - and that a history of domestic abuse had outlasted their relationship.

In 2009 Barbara Yates had decided to leave the marital home - when, he claimed to the jury - the verbal and physical abuse Mrs Yates allegedly suffered intensified.

On the 18th of July last year Mr Yates drove up to the police traffic centre in St Asaph - and handed himself in, saying :'I have killed my wife. I just had enough. I have mental health issues. She's in the back of the car'.

The case is expected to last around a week.

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Visiting authors inspire youngsters

A North Wales school is marking the success of its reading scheme with a visit from Education Minister Leighton Andrews.

Ysgol Esgob Morgan in St Asaph launched its Patron of Reading project last May in a bid to get more youngsters reading with the help of children's author Helena Pielichaty.

Headteacher Tim Redgrave says the scheme has been so successful they've had to buy extra books for the school library.

Mr Redgrave came up with the scheme after seeing how author JK Rowling inspired children to read, and wanted Ysgol Esgob Morgan to have its own visiting author.

Now Ms Pielichaty visits the school regularly to work with pupils. When she's not able to visit, she writes a poem on her blog for the children to read and discuss and then write their own poems.

St Asaph: Glyndwr University helps with telescope project

An artist's impression of the finished telescope Credit: Working Word PR

A team at Glyndwr University St. Asaph are working on a €5m project aiming to help mankind see to within a millisecond of the 'Big Bang'.

A team of 15 engineers are working on prototype mirrors for the 39m telescope, which will be the largest optical and near-infrared telescope in the world.

The telescope, due to be built in Chile in 2023, will eventually need over 900 specialist mirrors.

Glyndwr University says it is determined to secure the manufacturing of the mirrors in north-east Wales. It's claimed the move could create over 60 jobs and contribute €150m to the local economy.

Glyndwr University St Asaph, home to engineers working on the telescope Credit: Working Word PR

Report finds cause of Ruthin estate flooding

A report into flooding at the Glasdir Estate in Ruthin has found that a combination of factors caused the flooding of more than 100 homes.

The report, produced by Environment Agency Wales for the Welsh Government, concluded that;

  • debris blocking culverts stopped flood water from draining to the floodplain on the other side of the dual carriageway
  • gradients on the opposite side of the culvert meant that flood water could not drain to the wider floodplain and flood relief channel
  • heavily saturated ground in the lead up to the event as well as the sheer length of time the river Clwyd was in flood were also important factors

This report is an important part of our work to understand exactly what caused the flooding at the Glasdir housing estate.It is now important for those concerned to work together and learn the lessons from these floods. The report will help in assessing what steps are required to reduce the risk of flooding at Glasdir and improve flood risk management for communities across Wales.

– John Griffiths, Environment Minister

The report which is being distributed to the homes that were affected concludes that the earth bund which protects the Glasdir estate was overtopped due to these factors.

The Agency’s flood experts produced a model of the event to replicate the flooding on 27 November.

An investigation of the site, evidence from eye-witnesses, and photographic evidence showed that

the culverts would need to have been 85% blocked in order to cause the flooding of the estate.

The report will now be shared with relevant bodies and organisations to reduce the risk in the future.

Council moves CCTV to flood hit areas

The cameras are all connected to the CCTV monitoring room which is operational 24 hrs a day. Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

Denbighshire Council have relocated 4 CCTV cameras to provide further reassurance to the public in the areaswhich were most affected by the floods.

Denbighshire's Cabinet Lead Member for Environment, Councillor David Smith:

"The cameras will help provide reassurance to owners of empty properties and act as an additional deterrent to would-be criminals or anyone hoping to take advantage of potentially vulnerable home owners and families in the months ahead."

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Flood victims unable to return home for Christmas

The floods in St Asaph and surrounding areas left many homeless for Christmas Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

Following the recent flooding in St Asaph, almost 20 households will be forced to spend the festive period in temporary accommodation.

Significant damage to numerous properties across Denbighshire has meant that some residents have spent the last few weeks at the Robin Hood Holiday Camp in Rhyl.

Of all the properties flooded, 17 were damaged to such an extent that their occupants will not be able to move back until 2013.

Fundraising football match for St Asaph flood victims

A charity football match is being held this evening to raise money for the flood victims of St Asaph.

It has been two weeks since floods destroyed homes and businesses in the city and elsewhere, with hundreds facing homelessness this Christmas.

St Asaph City's side will face a team made up of Rhyl Athletic and Prestatyn Town players.

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