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Far right group condemned for broadcasting images relating to school stabbing

28 Apr 2024 6 minute read
Police at Ysgol Dyffryn Aman (Amman Valley school) in Ammanford, Carmarthenshire. Photo Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Martin Shipton

A notorious far right internet channel has been branded “wholly irresponsible” for broadcasting footage relating to a school stabbing incident that has resulted in a 13 year-old girl facing three charges of attempted murder.

The incident, at Ysgol Dyffryn Aman in Ammanford, Carmarthenshire, shocked the local community and people across Wales after news of it broke on Wednesday April 24. Two teachers and a pupil were wounded.

Police and politicians called for people not to post images or footage shot at the school on social media, but the far right group Voice of Wales – fronted by convicted fraudster Daniel Morgan and Stan Robinson, who will be standing for UKIP in Llanelli at the general election – did so.

Revolting

A concerned resident told us: “They shared the whole incident – a child saying they had been stabbed, with all the chaos and running around. It was about 15-20 seconds of video nasty. I didn’t screenshot it because it was revolting. The police had asked that the footage not be shared because it was sub judice.”

Another local person said: “I reported it to Facebook and somebody else with me reported it to the police. It did go to the police before it was taken down [by Voice of Wales].

“Voice of Wales put the video up pretty quickly. Where they say they have taken it down they have silenced all the comments. They had a lot of people having a go at them on social media and they obviously shouldn’t have put it up in the first place. The kids were still in lockdown in the school.They were putting film up when the parents were outside the school and didn’t know who was involved.”

On the day of the incident, Dyfed-Powys Police issued a statement saying: “We are aware that there is footage of the incident currently circulating on social media. We would ask that this is removed to avoid contempt of court and distress to those affected.”

Also on the day the incident happened, a number of MSs expressed concern about social media activity during a Senedd plenary session, where it was raised as an emergency.

‘Unspeakable horror’

Welsh Conservative MS Tom Giffard, who represents South Wales West, said: Whilst I don’t have the honour of representing Ammanford here in the Senedd, it is the town that I grew up in, I know the town very well, and I know the school as well very well, and, when you see these scenes of unspeakable horror and violence appearing in a place that you know, you think it should be something that happens miles away on a far-flung continent, but actually seeing it happen on a street you know, in a school you know, parents that you know waiting outside the school to know if their children inside the school are safe, that is an incredibly difficult image to process, and I found today very difficult as well.

“What I wanted to ask you, though, Minister, is clearly this is going to have a long-term impact, I think, on the town of Ammanford and on pupils across Wales who will see some of these images and worry about going to school themselves the next day. First of all, I wonder if you’d join with me in calling on certain social media accounts who have shared footage of the incident on Twitter today, before families were even informed that their loved ones were safe – I think that is wholly irresponsible and I wonder if you’d join with me in encouraging them to remove that, if they haven’t done so already, as quickly as possible”.

Mid and West Wales Labour MS Joyce Watson said: “I’m going to reiterate what Tom Giffard has said – the request that’s been put out by the police not to share images or comments, but to allow due process to take place so that you don’t cause alarm and also further distress to those involved.”

Llanelli MS Lee Waters said: “We all saw the pictures of parents rushing to the school gates worried about their children, and all of us who are parents and have children in our families can only imagine how distressing that was. As has been said, Ammanford is a close and welcoming community. I think the fact now this has happened in the social media age adds further distress to it.

“And I think we should just all reflect and plead that there aren’t judgments rushed to. We don’t know the circumstances. We don’t know what led to this happening. We don’t know what the experience of the person who’s been arrested has been and the circumstances around that. Clearly, something very badly has gone wrong here …I think it’s very important that we pause before we reach judgment, before people on social media react emotionally, and understandably. But I think all of us need to take a breath, be glad that the casualties are small in number – our thoughts are with them; I hope they improve – but also take the time necessary to think about the full implications and the causes of this.”

Distress

Responding to Mr Giffard’s comment, Cabinet Secretary for Education Lynne Neagle said: “I would certainly echo what you’ve said about social media. We know that the police have been very clear in asking people not to share any social media footage from the school while they investigate this incident. It’s not helpful, and it causes distress at a time when people are already distressed by what’s happened today.”

And responding to Mr Waters, Ms Neagle said: “Your points on social media are really well made, and it’s very important that we let the police undertake their investigation. They were very clear with myself and the First Minister earlier that lots of speculation is not helpful. We need to let them do their job at the same time as making sure that we support the school and the community through this very difficult period.”

Voice of Wales posted a terse statement on Facebook stating: “Out of respect for the children in the school we have taken the video down. Not on the request of the police.”


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cablestreet
cablestreet
23 days ago

Contempt of court? Bang them up. At least we’d be spared a few months of their poison. Unfortunately they’d probably see themselves as martyrs rather than the divisive scumbags they really are.

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