A Pembrokeshire man living on a Greek island while receiving state benefits he was allegedly not entitled to has been warned today (Monday) his trial would go ahead - with or without him being present.

William Murray Gething-Lewis, aged 68, had been due to attend a plea and trial preparation hearing today before Judge Geraint Walters at Swansea crown court.

But he failed to attend and sent an email saying he was too ill to travel.

Gething-Lewis, of Broadmoor, wrote that he was due to be examined by a specialist doctor in Greece and could not give a date when he would be fit enough to to fly back to the UK.

His barrister, Jon Tarrant, said it was not possible to tell the court how Gething-Lewis would plead to the charges.

Gething-Lewis is charged with receiving £54,644 in benefits he was not entitled to by failing to notify Pembrokeshire County Council and the Depatment for Work and Pensions about changes to his financial circumstances which would have effected his claims for council tax benefit and pension credits.

Mr Tarrant said the allegation was that Gething-Lewis had not declared dividends from company shares.

Judge Walters fixed July 17 as the start of a two day trial.

He said Gething-Lewis needed to be informed that the trial would go ahead whether he attended or not.