Father commits 'crime of the century' after disciplining son during visit to chocolate factory
Published 22/11/2016 | 17:42
A tiny island has recorded its first crime in living memory after a father disciplined his son for causing chaos at a local chocolate factory.
Caldey Island is so remote police had to be taken on a RNLI lifeboat to the island, two miles off the Welsh coast, to make the arrest.
The assault, which has now been dubbed “the crime of the century”, was revealed when a holidaymaker on a day-trip from Dudley, West Midlands, appeared in court on the mainland to admit the offence.
The man was visiting the island when he struck his “misbehaving” seven-year-old son during a visit to the “chocolate factory” at St Illtyd’s church.
The historic island, which only has a population of 40, has a monastery and is home to 18 monks and a number of farmers.
The monks were described as concerned by the assault.
Island manager John Cattini (65) said: “This is the first crime I can recall and I've been here more than 40 years.
"I'm glad to say I didn't witness it but I'm sorry to say I was told about it. It is very sad.
"We are happy to say we live here very peacefully. This person was a visitor and is a sign of the modern world, I expect."
Before the assault in September, official crime statistics have recorded a zero for Caldey Island for anti-social behaviour, theft, burglary, arson, drugs, public order, vehicle crime, robbery and possession of offensive weapons.
Traffic offences are also at zero because the island only has 300 yards of roadway.
During the court hearing, prosecutor Dennis Davies said visitors called police after seeing the man (45) attack his son.
He said: “The man was said to be shouting at the boy before lifting him up with an outstretched arm by the throat.
“He then put him down, slapped him on the back of the head and “frogmarched” him away.”
The court heard that another visitor shouted: “That’s child abuse.”
The father told police his son was “being naughty and wouldn’t listen” and explained the child had ADHD and was on the autistic spectrum.
Defending, Mike Kelleher said: “The boy doesn't like crowds and queuing, and doesn't see danger as others do.
"The father said his son was misbehaving and running up and down the steps, and he was concerned that he would hurt himself or others.
"The father is deeply upset and didn't want to hurt his son.”
The man was released on bail until next month for reports to be prepared.
After the hearing, a spokesman for Dyfed-Powys police said: “We acknowledge that the crime rate on Caldey Island is very low, but we take all reports of crime seriously and as such investigate them thoroughly.”
Caldey, which is a mile-and-a-half long, has been a religious retreat since the first monastery was set up there 1,500 years ago.
The monks take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience and observe a rule of silence between the hours of 7pm to 7am.
Every year, more than 3,000 visitors travel to Caldey Island between April and October to sample the perfume, shortbread and prized homemade chocolate made by the monks.