South East Wales

Argoed inquest: Officer 'could have stopped' hostel deaths

Matthew Williams and Cerys Marie Yemm Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Officers found Matthew Williams attacking Cerys Yemm at the hostel

A prison leaver and a woman he killed in a Caerphilly hostel would both be alive if he had been given a psychiatric appointment, his mother has claimed.

Matthew Williams was found attacking Cerys Yemm, 22, at the Sirhowy Arms in Argoed, on 6 November 2014.

Gwent Police stunned Williams, 34, with a Taser but he later died.

Sally Williams told a Newport inquest a police officer should have arranged a psychiatric appointment.

She said PC Alison Perry promised she would arrange a "fast track" meeting to get Williams anti-psychotic medication.

The officer was the central point of contact on the integrated offender management scheme - responsible for bring together probation, police, local authorities, drugs and alcohol services and health providers to help Williams.

"I know she could have saved Cerys and saved Matthew. I think she could have prevented it if she'd done her job properly," Mrs Williams told the inquest.

"If Matthew had got his drugs and moved to a different area, it all could have been prevented."

'Split personality'

While she admitted he "could be violent whether he took drugs or not", she said anti-psychotic medication made him calmer.

"He was depressed, violent, there were all sorts of problems [whether on medication or not]," she added.

"He had a split personality, one minute he was good, the next he was up in arms.

"You only had to speak to Matthew for five minutes to see something was not right. He was not firing on thrusters. He had a definite mental illness."

Mrs Williams said her son first developed a drug habit in his late teens, with the family trying numerous ways of helping him.

"We tried everything, hospitals, different psychiatrists, everything," she said.

She added she had never been tempted to abandon him, adding: "No, he's ill, he needs someone there for him and he's my son."

Mrs Williams did not believe her son had a central care plan after leaving prison and the inquest heard she sent a text to PC Perry blaming her for what happened to him and Cerys Yemm.

The officer met Williams and his mother before his release from prison to offer services that would help him.

PC Perry told the inquest he rejected all offers of help while she was unable to arrange psychiatrist appointments as these would have needed to be made by Williams' GP.

However, Mrs Williams disputed this and evidence from her son's GP that she examined him after he left prison, saying he had only been to the surgery to pick up a "sick note".

She said her son wanted to start a new life in Newport with his father on his release from prison "to get away from the situation" in Blackwood.

"All of it, his ex partner, the police. He was a free man and wanted to start a new life. Most of his offending was in the Caerphilly area."

The inquest continues.

More on this story