Page last updated at 13:10 GMT, Monday, 2 March 2009

Killer had knife to 'slash tyres'

By Nick Parry
BBC News website

Daniel Marcel Williams
CCTV footage showed Daniel Williams in the pub in Trimsaran
Just hours before an altercation in which a former policeman would be killed, Daniel Williams was drinking at a pub.

A row developed with officers when Williams' brother Chad was arrested for drink driving.

While walking back to his home in Trimsaran, Carmarthenshire, 30-year-old Williams decided to slash Geoffrey Harries' tyres to let him know he was not welcome in the community.

Mr Harries, who had served with Dyfed-Powys Police but had left the force, was due in court accused of having 2,082 indecent images of children.

Swansea Crown Court was told Williams had previously slashed a tyre on Geoffrey Harries' van and poured brake fluid over the bonnet.

From the time Mr Harries and his wife moved in to his mother's house at Dythel Park some neighbours had been unhappy about his presence.

The Harrieses moved there from their own home in Pembrey because of "hostile incidents" after his arrest.

Williams, who has been cleared of Mr Harries' murder but found guilty of manslaughter, lived just seven doors away in Trimsaran.

On 6 June last year he had been drinking with his brother Chad at the Bird in Hand pub.

Mr Harries's blood was found on the defendant's clothes

They were stopped as they were leaving and his brother arrested for drink driving.

Williams denied making threats about Mr Harries but admitted in court that he intended to slash his tyres.

A patrol car was sent to the estate to keep watch on Mr Harries' house but left after 30 minutes when it "seemed quiet and calm".

Mr Harries' wife Elizabeth was to tell the jury in the early hours of the following day, she and her husband saw a man crouching behind a van outside their home and suspected he was trying to slash their tyres.

Mr Harries went to investigate and she followed moments later.

Mrs Harries said she could not see the identity of the man as he was wearing a hood.

"Geoff was saying 'I haven't done anything. I would never do anything like that'. He was saying it in a pleading tone," she told the jury.

"I shouted 'Can't you leave us alone. He hasn't done anything to anybody'.

"The man ran off and a street light reflected on something metallic.

"My husband turned to face me and said 'I have been stabbed'. He was stumbling and staggering. He collapsed in my arms."

The Bird In Hand pub in Trimsaran
The Bird In The Hand pub in Trimsaran

Mrs Harries told how she tried to stem the bleeding but with little success.

Williams had taken a combat knife from his home, the court heard, but said he had no intention of doing anything to Mr Harries himself.

Williams told the jury he was acting in self defence because Mr Harries had hit him and pinned him to the ground.

"He was massive on top of me and I couldn't breathe. He had his right forearm on my throat, pushing all his weight down," Williams told the court.

"I thought he was going to kill me. I couldn't move."

Williams said that he tried to hit Mr Harries.

"He jumped up off me. I stood up, facing each other. I didn't get to see how he looked or what he was wearing," he said.

"I sprinted off as fast as I could to get away from him."

Mr Harries was taken to West Wales General Hospital, Carmarthen, and later transferred to Morriston Hospital, Swansea, where he died.

Doctors found he had suffered 20 stab wounds, including a fatal injury to his back which penetrated his right lung.

The court was told Williams had "a long-standing fascination with military equipment and knives" and the jury was shown a 6in (15cm) combat knife bought by the defendant.

When Williams went to the house that night he was dressed in a black hooded top and possibly a black balaclava and gloves.

At first he denied any involvement in the killing until police found Mr Harries' blood on his boots, jeans and hooded top.

He then said he had acted in self defence.

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