‘It’s been more than a year but we don’t sleep... we want to know what hap­pened’

The grief-stricken par­ents of an elec­tri­cian killed while work­ing on the A465 are hop­ing for an­swers when an in­quest into his death opens later this month. Gemma Parry re­ports

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PAT and Tom Thomas are clearly grief-stricken over the loss of their son.

In their home in Dyf­fryn Cell­wen, near Ban­wen, there are plenty of pic­tures of An­thony, who died in Septem­ber 2016.

The 42-year-old Neath Port Tal­bot Coun­cil elec­tri­cian was killed while work­ing on the A465 Heads of the Val­ley Road, near Merthyr Tyd­fil.

Af­fec­tion­ately known as “Ajax”, An­thony was a pop­u­lar player and coach with Ban­wen RFC and had also played for Dun­vant dur­ing their spell in the top flight of Welsh rugby dur­ing the mid-1990s.

At the time of his death he was en­joy­ing be­ing a new dad to seven-mon­thold Katie, with girl­friend Caro­line Williams.

More than a year later, his fam­ily are still wait­ing for an­swers about his death.

“We were dev­as­tated,” says Pat. “The po­lice came here to tell us he had died and it was a huge shock.

“Tom went to iden­tify his body, but we still couldn’t be­lieve it.

“It’s been more than a year but we don’t sleep. We get up in the morn­ing and we just sit here and cry.

“I can­not go into his bed­room up­stairs. I haven’t touched it at all.” Sadly, it isn’t the first time the fam­ily have ex­pe­ri­enced such a dev­as­tat­ing loss.

More than 20 years ago, Pat, aged 69, and Tom, aged 71, lost an­other son, David, in a car ac­ci­dent. He was just 26 years old.

An­thony’s death has also had a huge im­pact on younger rel­a­tives. “My grand­son, Kris­tian, is dev­as­tated,” Pat says. “They were so close, and An­thony spoilt all the chil­dren rot­ten. He was al­most like Kris­tian’s fa­ther. He would take him to play rugby all the time. A few weeks be­fore he died, they had gone to Dundee to­gether for a clay pi­geon shoot­ing com­pe­ti­tion. An­thony was re­ally good at it, and a rugby fa­natic.”

“He played rugby in school,” Tom adds proudly. We used to go and watch him all the time. He even went to Aus­tralia to play while he was a stu­dent there.

“He went on to play for Dun­vant and Ys­trag­yn­lais. Llan­gatwg School, where he used to go, is go­ing to have a me­mo­rial for him. He was the type of per­son who would tell it to you straight,” Pat says with a smile.

She adds: “He was a lit­tle mon­key, hon­estly, and very cheeky. He was very funny too.

“He had so many friends – he’d do any­thing for any­one – and when we had the fu­neral, it was ab­so­lutely packed full. Peo­ple couldn’t get in. He was so pop­u­lar.”

With an in­quest into his death now set for Fe­bru­ary 27 in Aber­dare, Pat says they are hop­ing for an­swers.

“We want to know what has hap­pened and who was there with him when it hap­pened.

“We want the details so that all this can progress.”

An­thony ‘Ajax’ Thomas played top-flight rugby in the mid-1990s


An­thony’s par­ents, Pat and Tom Thomas, from Ban­wen in Neath

An­thony Thomas

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