South East Wales

Probation service 'powerless' in Argoed hostel killer case

Matthew Williams and Cerys Marie Yemm Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Cerys Yemm and Matthew Williams met about two weeks before the attack

The probation service was powerless to intervene in the case of a prison-leaver who killed a woman in a hostel, an inquest has heard.

Matthew Williams killed Cerys Yemm, 22, at the Sirhowy Arms Hotel in Argoed, Caerphilly county, on 6 November 2014.

Williams, 34, also died after being Tasered by police.

Gwent Coroner's Court in Newport heard Williams had completed his prison sentence so could not be forced to work with the probation service.

Deputy head of public protection, Jonathan Matthews, said: "At the point of the sentence ending, whether we like it or not, we have no power."

Acting on behalf of Williams' family, Nicholas Bowen QC asked Mr Matthews: "You could release someone who could be a ticking time bomb into the community with no power to do anything?"

Mr Matthews said many working in the field "have those concerns" but additional powers would require additional legislation.

"Part of the difficulty is that statutory oversight will always have to come to an end at some point and that there are budgetary, ethical and civil-liberty issues," he said.

Probation officer Nick Tetley told the inquest he took over Williams' case in March 2014 and saw him once before his release from prison.

Mr Tetley said during the meeting Williams seemed disinterested and was unwilling to engage. He added Williams turned down offers of housing, drug or alcohol help.

He said he had no issues regarding his mental health during the meeting and Williams told him he wanted to see a GP to carry on with his medication "as a safety net".

The jury was also told that, on his release, Williams would be monitored by police as part of an integrated offender management scheme aimed at the most persistent and problematic offenders.

He was not under the programme known as the multi agency public protection arrangement because of the specific criteria required.

The inquest was also told, despite concerns of the risk of serious harm posed by Williams, neither Caerphilly nor Newport councils were told about the risks he posed and the threats to kill specific individuals he had made from within prison.

The inquest continues.

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