PAEDOPHILE HYSTERIA IN WALES: Man Found Guilty Of Porn-Charge Suspect's Manslaughter
Wales News, Mar 2 2009, WalesOnline
A man who stabbed to death a former policeman awaiting trial on child porn charges was found guilty of manslaughter today.
Daniel Williams, 30, of Trimsaran, West Wales, stabbed Geoffrey Harries, 49, 20 times in a late-night confrontation in June.
Williams admitted going clad in a black balaclava and dark military-style clothing to slash the tyres of Mr Harries’s car on the night in question.
The defence team had argued that he stabbed the former Dyfed Powys policeman in self-defence when he was attacked by Mr Harries, having forgotten he was holding the 7in blade combat knife.
The jury at Swansea Crown Court cleared Williams of murder on Friday after 20 hours of deliberation.
The verdict of guilty of manslaughter came today after a total of more than 25 hours of deliberation.
High Court judge Justice Flaux thanked the jury and adjourned sentencing until tomorrow morning.
The victim's widow, Elizabeth Harries, broke down as the verdict was read out today and was comforted by relatives.
Williams’ family left court immediately and declined to make any comment on the outcome.
Mr Harries had moved to the Dythel Park Estate in Trimsaran with his wife, to live in the home of his elderly mother.
Residents on the estate were aware that he was awaiting trial accused of possessing more than 2,000 pornographic images of children on his computer.
A petition had been circulated by residents opposed to him living on the estate where Williams also lived, the trial heard.
Hours before the stabbing, a drunken Williams shouted insults at the police as he left a local pub to which they had been called on a separate matter.
The jury heard that he had referred to Mr Harries as a "paedo" and warned one officer: "He’s one of your lot. If you are not going to do something about it, I will."
The officer in question was called away to a road accident but returned to the area later and saw Williams calmly walking home.
When approached about the earlier outburst, Williams claimed he had just been "stupid" in front of friends.
But within hours he was involved in a confrontation with Mr Harries in the street after the former police officer’s wife spotted Williams outside, close to their car.
Williams insisted throughout the trial that he had been pursued by Mr Harries and attacked by him as he tried to flee the scene.
Paul Thomas QC, prosecuting, described Williams during his summing-up as a "self-appointed vigilante".
He told the jury it was "nonsense" for Williams to suggest he could inflict 20 stab wounds without realising he was holding a knife.
He also reminded the jury that the fatal wound had been through his back and into one of his lungs.
Friday's verdict of not guilty of murder effectively dismissed the prosecution's version of events.
Today’s verdict of guilty of manslaughter dismissed the defence argument that Williams was guilty of nothing and acted in self-defence.
The family of Geoffrey Harries later issued a statement through Dyfed Powys Police.
"Today our Great British justice system has proved its worth but to get to this point, two families have had their lives torn apart.
"Despite the outcome, there are no winners and nothing can bring back a loving son and husband. All we can do now is to slowly rebuild our lives.
"We wish to take this opportunity to thank all of our wonderful family and friends for their love, strength and constant support throughout this horrible ordeal.
"We also want to express our gratitude to the court, jury and to our barrister, Mr Paul Thomas, and his team for the tireless work and expertise put into the prosecution case and succeeding in their endeavours.
"The investigation team of Dyfed Powys Police have devoted extensive resources and hours into pulling this case together and no words are sufficient to express our appreciation for all that they have done.
"Whatever is now ahead of us, we can and will face it as a family and request that the media permit us the privacy to do so with dignity."
Detective Chief Superintendent Steven Mears, for Dyfed Powys Police, said: "Hopefully the guilty verdict for manslaughter will be of some comfort to Geoffrey Harries’ family and our thoughts are with them at this time.
"I would always advise the public not to take matters into their own hands. It is important to let the criminal justice process take its course in order to allow a decision to be reached in a court of law before a judge and jury based on the evidence.
"A pleasing aspect of this investigation has been the support the police has received from the communities of Trimsaran and Dythel Park. I would like to thank them for all their help.
"I would like to reassure the public that tragic incidents such as these are extremely rare within the Dyfed Powys Police area and we will continue to do our utmost to ensure it remains the safest place to live in Wales and England."