Today, the sister of a man who was killed will be discussing the lasting impact of murder on families, as the Knife Angel’s visit to Aberystwyth comes to a close.
In 2020, 55-year-old Michael O’Leary, of Nantgaredig in Carmarthenshire, was murdered.
Now his sister, Lesley Rees, has come to Aberystwyth today to discuss the impact of murder on families, her experiences, and why she is now supporting others in Wales through Support After Murder and Manslaughter (SAMM National). Joining her in the workshop will be renowned actor Julian Lewis Jones, known for his role in Invcitus and Justice League, amongst other films, reading poetry.
The SAMM National workshop, which will be in the Oriel Gallery in Aberystwyth, is taking place today (Tuesday, 28 June) at 1pm, as part of the Knife Angel visit to the town.
Mr O’Leary was murdered after Andrew Jones, 53, used his wife’s secret phone to lure Mr O’Leary to his farm in Carmarthenshire to confront him about their secret relationship, in January 2020. Mr Jones was found guilty of murder by a majority of 11 to one on 5 October 2020.
Mr O’Leary was reported missing on the evening of January 27 after he failed to return to his Nantgaredig home from work. Mr Jones took a rifle with him to the meeting, claiming there was a struggle between the two men. He claimed the rifle went off, killing Mr O’Leary, but the Corwn Prosecution Service was able to prove this was a lie by showing the four shell casings found at the farm came from one of the firearms recovered at Mr Jones’ house.
Jones then used Mr O’Leary’s mobile phone to send a text saying “I’m sorry” to Mr O’Leary’s wife, purporting to be from him.
On 14 March 2020, a piece of human tissue of a small intestine was discovered inside a rusty oil barrel being decanted at Jones’ address by police during a search of the property. It matched the DNA profile of Mr O’Leary.
The Knife Angel sculpture, made from 100,000 confiscated knives, will say goodbye to the town on 29 June, after standing in Llys y Brenin square since 1 June. The sculpture promotes key prevention, anti-violence and anti-aggression messages.
During the sculpture’s last week in the area, Dafydd Llywelyn and local partners have scheduled several engagement opportunities for local school groups and the local community.
The activities include workshops on Stop and Search Powers, victims of Knife Crime and restorative practice, the dangers of Knife Crime and how you can report it anonymously with Fearless (Crimestoppers), and Domestic Abuse (West Wales Domestic Abuse Service).
As well as workshops, local partners are coming together for an Anti-Violence Fayre on Thursday 23 June in Llys y Brenin Square for a network event whereby people can find out more about support services available to them in the area.
SAMM National provides a wide range of peer support services to people bereaved by murder and manslaughter. Their services are open to everyone regardless of how long ago they were bereaved.
The support is offered to close relatives, as well as wider family members and bereaved friends, across Wales, England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.
All volunteers for SAMM National receive bespoke training and have been bereaved through homicide themselves, with a “unique understanding of what it’s like to be traumatically bereaved”.
If you’d like to attend the event, you can book a free ticket here https://tocyn.cymru/cy/event/d13f1c04-d899-47f8-b638-569398b2ed23.
If you’d like to help shape how that may look and secure some free credits if we do go live then please register here.
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