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Housing row ahead of Charlie murder trial

Created on 18/09/2018 @ 10:15
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With the trial of the man accused of murdering Welshpool man Charlie Birch (pictured) due to get underway on Wednesday, a row has broken out over the 39-year-old’s home.

The 35-year-old unnamed man will stand trial in Paphos, Cyprus, with him also accused of the attempted murder of another Welshpool man, Will Pritchard, 32, in June when both men were struck by a car being driven by the defendant.

But closer to home a row has broken out over Mr. Birch’s Welshpool home, with Powys County Council’s Housing Department hotly disputing claims made at a Health Care and Housing Scrutiny Committee meeting by Cllr Phil Pritchard, who represents the Castle Ward in Welshpool.

Cllr Pritchard accused the department of wanting to ‘evict’ the daughters of Mr. Birch who lived at the home at weekends and had become emotionally attached to the property.

Cllr Pritchard, said: “People out there need to know how the work of one department can be undermined by another.

“The family of Charlie Birch have had a hell of a time, and all of a sudden the housing department are asking when they are going to empty the house.”

The councillor explained that the children would go to school on Monday mornings from his house and then go to their mother’s home for the rest of the week.

“Their grandmother is ready to move there and give up her bungalow, but has been told she can’t do that as she’s already adequately housed,” he said. “We’ve had meetings; these are exceptional circumstances. The lack of understanding is diabolical.”

Cllr James Evans, Cabinet Member for Housing, has defended the department.

He said: “The situation presented by the councillor during the scrutiny committee was not factually correct.

“Whilst I’m unable to provide detailed information about the circumstances of the case, I can confirm that the family is not facing eviction. An assessment of the family’s circumstances has been made by officers in accordance with the council’s policy.

“Since officers made that original decision, additional information has been presented to the council and the original decision is currently in the process of being reviewed.”

Mr. Birch’s alleged killer was originally due to stand trial last month but it was adjourned to allow more time for the defence to build their case. The man was remanded in custody.

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