South East Wales

Matthew Williams: Prisoner review calls after cannibalism death

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Media captionMatthew Williams's mother says her son could not get medication for his paranoid schizophrenia outside of prison

Calls have made been for changes to the monitoring of prisoners after release following the murder of a woman in an act of cannibalism.

Cerys Marie Yemm, 22, was killed after an attack by Matthew Williams at a hostel in Argoed, Caerphilly county.

Police fired a Taser stun gun at him during the attack and Williams, 34, later died. His mother said Ms Yemm's death could have been prevented.

Elfyn Llwyd MP said there should be a review on the sentencing procedure.

Williams's mother Sally Ann Williams told BBC Wales her son, who had paranoid schizophrenia, was not prescribed drugs after his release from Parc Prison, Bridgend.

She said the death of Ms Yemm "could have been prevented".

'Asked for help'

Mrs Williams claims her son had been receiving medication in prison but, despite her asking for help in getting him a prescription, he did not receive one when released less than two weeks ago.

She had feared he would do something that would lead to his arrest without it.

Mrs Williams expressed her condolences and regret to Ms Yemm's family and said she believed both deaths could have been prevented if her son was properly medicated.

When asked to respond to Mrs Williams's claims, a Ministry of Justice spokesman said: "We do not comment on individuals."

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Image caption Cerys Yemm was attacked and killed by Williams on 6 November

Mrs Williams said she had met her son almost daily following his release and noticed his condition deteriorated.

Two days before the attack he told her he was "already hearing voices", she claimed.

"I said he needed sleep and tried to persuade him to see a doctor but he wouldn't," she said.

The day before the attack she dropped off shopping at the Sirhowy Arms hostel in Argoed for him.

"He was in good spirits - he was troubled but not desperate - we had a hug and a kiss and he said he'd meet me for breakfast," she said.

That was the last time she saw him.

'Prolific drug taker'

Mrs Williams said her son was a prolific drug taker which made his paranoid schizophrenia, diagnosed at 16, worse.

He had spent more time in prison than out since then, she said.

"He would see things that were not there, he would hear voices, say food was trying to poison him and he would hallucinate," she said.

"He was aggressive to people he thought were a threat to him."

Mrs Williams believed her son should not have been housed at the hostel but sectioned under the mental health act a long time ago.

"He should have been in hospital," she said.

"Every time he came out of prison, we'd go through the same process.

"He'd be placed in a hostel somewhere with very little supervision and no psychiatric help outside."


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Media captionMandy Miles, took over the Sirhowy Arms seven years ago, as Kate Morgan reports

Sirhowy Arms owner: Mandy Miles

She told BBC Radio 5 Live she was shocked and devastated by what happened.

"I've been doing this seven years now, we've had people come back drunk and I've refused them entry, but we've never had anything like this - never ever," she said.

"It was me that went into the room, it was me that raised the alarm, it was me that contacted the police.

"Whatever he did to himself he could've done that in a pub... he could've gone back to some girl's room and done that. Anything that went on there could've happened anywhere."


The Ministry of Justice has confirmed a serious further offence review would be held into the case.

Prayers held

They are carried out when an offence is committed within 30 days of a sentence ending.

Williams's death is being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission because it happened while he was in police custody.

A lone female officer was sent to the scene where she found Williams attacking Ms Yemm, from Blackwood.

Sources confirmed she suffered substantial facial injuries in the attack on 6 November.

On Sunday, prayers were held for her at a church service at Argoed Baptist Chapel.

Rev Charlotte Moss told the congregation: "The tragedy is that Cerys suffered as a consequence of someone else's internal battles."

Meanwhile, Plaid Cymru MP Elfyn Llwyd said he would ask the House of Commons Justice Committee, on which he sits, to investigate why such a "dangerous" prisoner was released without any medical supervision.

"If schizophrenics take their prescribed drugs they act normally but if not they get worse and the risk increases by the day," he said.

"We should review the sentencing procedure to include some form of monitoring, reporting once a week to a probation officer who can ascertain whether they are taking the appropriate level of drugs."

Image caption Flowers have been left outside the hostel entrance

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