Killer with mental health problems 'given no support' after prison release

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A repeat offender with serious mental health problems was given no support after being released from prison just two weeks before he killed a young woman in the halfway house he was staying at, an inquest has heard.

Matthew Williams, 34, attacked Cerys Yemm, 22, in the early hours of November 6 2014 at the Sirhowy Arms Hotel in Argoed, Blackwood, South Wales.

Screams alerted other residents but Williams carried on his attack even after being interrupted, and Miss Yemm died from her injuries.

Police officers called to the scene used a Taser multiple times and arrested Williams, who stopped breathing and was pronounced dead at 2.18am on that day.

On Wednesday, an inquest into both of their deaths heard how Williams suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and spent his adult life in and out of prison.

Williams' mother, Sally Ann Williams, said in a statement read at Gwent Coroner's Court in Newport: "When Matthew was released from HMP Parc on October 23 2014 he was given no support.

"He did not have a mental health support worker. Matthew told me that he had been released without any medication.

"Matthew was released without a licence and had no probation restrictions."

Mrs Williams described how her son's mental health problems started when he was a teenager and he was sent to a young offender's institution after an incident at his school.

She said he served nine months of an 18-month sentence "and that was the first time that he had suffered with mental health issues and he received no support as mental health was not really spoken about then".

Mrs Williams said he came home aged 16 and was often in trouble with the police for breaking into cars, took drugs and started to become paranoid about things.

She said Williams would throw away meals she had cooked, saying he was worried it had been poisoned, and once stood at the top of the stairs, arms outstretched, saying he was a tree and that his skin was turning into bark.

Mrs Williams said her son was diagnosed with drug-induced paranoid schizophrenia and was prescribed medication.

She said his life stabilised aged 23 when he met his partner Emma and they had a son together, but that after the relationship broke down his problems returned and he spent "the biggest part of the last three years in prison".

Mrs Williams said she spent time with her son after his final release from prison, buying him food, and initially did not feel worried about him.

She noticed that he had "gone downhill" from November 3 and asked him to go with her to the doctor to get a prescription for his medication after he told her that he was feeling paranoid and that "the voices were back", but that it did not happen.

The inquest heard Williams met Miss Yemm on a night out after his release and that the pair spent time together, forming a "flirty" relationship.

On November 5 a friend of Williams' picked Miss Yemm up from her home and the three of them then drove to Blackwood where they went to the friend's house.

Coroner David T Bowen said: "It seems Miss Yemm had intended to return home that night, her mother was certainly expecting her but she did not do so."

Williams and Miss Yemm smoked cannabis and drank lager at Williams' friend Rhodri Moore's house on the day they both died.

The inquest heard Williams became upset when they started watching a documentary about the psychiatric hospital Broadmoor and said: "What are you watching these psychos for?"

Mr Moore said he spent nearly every day with Williams, who took amphetamines and mephedrone, following his release from prison and that his friend's mental condition had deteriorated prior to his death.

He said: "When he came out of prison there was no help there for him. He was alright but further down the line he was saying he was hallucinating.

"He was not getting the help he needed."

Mr Moore said Williams became more paranoid after seeing a car full of police officers, who he hated, driving towards his hotel and the inquest heard they searched his room there.

From that moment Williams got "worse and worse" and started looking out of windows and twitching, Mr Moore said.

He added: "Obviously that was preying on his mind then. He had only been out for two weeks. It weighed on him a lot."

Miss Yemm's mother, Paula Yemm, told the inquest in a statement that her daughter was in what she considered to be a "controlling" relationship with a man called Jay.

Mrs Yemm said she noticed a change in Miss Yemm's behaviour after they got together and said when the relationship ended she spent time living in a refuge before moving back to the family home in Oakdale.

She added that the pair rekindled their relationship in 2013 and moved in together but the problems continued and there was a "further incident" that Jay was sent to prison for, where Miss Yemm would visit him.

"Jay and Cerys were still in a relationship right up until Cerys's death," she said. "They were planning a life together after he was released from prison."

The inquest heard Williams and Jay knew each other in prison and that Jay warned Miss Yemm to stay away from him.

Jurors watched CCTV from the Sirhowy Arms Hotel, covering the corridor outside Williams's first-floor room, which showed Miss Yemm and Williams arriving there at around midnight.

Williams was then seen leaving and returning to his room twice before, at 1.09am, other residents started to congregate outside his door, having heard screams. One was seen pressing his ear to the door.

At 1.24am the footage shows hotel owner Mandy Miles using a key code to open the door to room seven, then quickly leaving again and dialling 999.

The call was played and Mrs Miles could be heard screaming, crying and shouting "oh god, oh god", while begging the police to come quickly, saying that there had been a murder at the hotel.

She said: "He has put a screwdriver through her face and is eating her... There was screaming and screaming. Oh my god it is awful."

The inquest heard there was "blood everywhere" and it was "like a horror film".

Mrs Miles told the operator she locked Williams and Miss Yemm in the room. Footage showed that residents opened the door at 1.32am, six minutes before the police arrived. They closed it again after Mrs Miles screamed to her son Christopher "get out, get out".

She added that Williams had had a "breakdown or something".