South East Wales

Cannibal murder 'was preventable' says killer's mother

Matthew Williams
Image caption Matthew Williams's mother claims her son told her was 'hearing voices' in the days before the killing

The mother of a man who murdered a woman in an act of cannibalism claims the attack "could have been prevented".

Cerys Marie Yemm, 22, died after being attacked by Matthew Williams at a hostel in Argoed, Caerphilly county.

Sally Ann Williams claims her son was a paranoid schizophrenic and did not get a prescription after his release from prison less than two weeks ago.

The 34-year-old died after police fired a Taser stun gun at him.

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.

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

She 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 spokesperson said: "We do not comment on individuals."

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

Mrs Williams said she had met her son on an almost daily basis after his release from prison, and noticed his condition deteriorating.

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

"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 did some shopping for him and dropped it off at the Sirhowy Arms hostel in Argoed where he was living.

"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 claims her son's condition was first diagnosed when he was 16 years old and since then he had spent more time in prison than out of it.

He was a prolific drug taker, she said, which made his paranoid schizophrenia worse.

"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."

Image caption A former hotel, the Sirhowy Arms hostel houses vulnerable and homeless people, including ex-offenders

Matthew Williams's mother said she believed he should never have been housed at the hostel, and in her opinion, should have been 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."

The Ministry of Justice said it could not comment on individuals cases, but on Saturday it confirmed a serious further offence review would be held into the case.

Prayers held

Such reviews 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 occurred 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.

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

Image caption Flowers have been left outside the hostel entrance

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites