SWANSEA CROWN COURT has delivered its verdict in the case of a TV director accused of killing a retired teacher following a heated argument about Welsh independence. Hywel Williams, a 40-year-old director on the popular S4C soap opera Pobol y Cwm, was found not guilty of manslaughter in relation to the death of Peter Ormerod, a 75-year-old former teacher. The incident occurred outside a pub in Burry Port, Carmarthenshire, on September 24, 2022.
During the trial, Mr. Williams claimed he acted in self-defense out of fear. The court heard that the altercation between the two men was sparked by a disagreement over Welsh politics, with Mr. Williams alleging that Mr. Ormerod had belittled Welsh aspirations for independence by saying, “Wales wasn’t big enough to be independent.”
According to Mr. Williams’ account, he left the Portobello Inn to make a phone call after telling Mr. Ormerod, “Just because you speak Welsh doesn’t mean you know everything about Wales and the Welsh.” He proceeded to make a call near the Carmarthenshire Coffee Company cafe on Stepney Road. Mr. Williams alleged that Mr. Ormerod followed him across the road, approached him closely, and became verbally abusive. Feeling threatened, Mr. Williams stated that he “instinctively” pushed Mr. Ormerod away in an act of self-defense.
CCTV footage presented in court revealed Mr. Williams pushing Mr. Ormerod, causing him to fall and hit his head on the ground. Unfortunately, Mr. Ormerod sustained severe head and brain injuries from the incident and passed away four days later while receiving treatment at the hospital.
The court also heard a 999 call made by Mr. Williams to Dyfed-Powys Police less than a minute after the altercation. He admitted to pushing Mr. Ormerod and claimed that it was in response to the former teacher’s offensive language towards him.
During the trial, Malcolm Parker, the landlord of the Portobello Inn, testified that Mr. Ormerod appeared visibly upset when leaving the pub and slammed a gate behind him. According to Mr. Parker, Mr. Ormerod then encroached on Mr. Williams’ personal space, which led to the fatal push. Mr. Parker described the push as a “panic push” and suggested that Mr. Ormerod’s foot got stuck in a drain, causing his shoe to come off. The sound of his head hitting the pavement was likened to “a cricket bat hitting a ball.”
After six hours of deliberation, the jury consisting of six men and six women found Mr. Williams not guilty of manslaughter. Judge Paul Thomas KC expressed his sadness regarding the case, stating, “I can’t remember a sadder case than this.”
Outside the courtroom, Cari Ormerod, Mr. Ormerod’s daughter, spoke on behalf of the family. She expressed their disappointment with the verdict and thanked those who provided care for her father following the incident. Cari Ormerod emphasized that the family did not recognize the portrayal of their father during the trial, describing him as a kind, patient, and empathetic man who dedicated his professional life to working with children and young people. She concluded by stating that her father’s absence is deeply felt by his family and friends.
The case of Hywel Williams and Peter Ormerod highlights the tragic consequences that can arise from heated arguments and emphasizes the importance of resolving differences through peaceful means.