The ex-girlfriend of hostel killer Matthew Williams has revealed haunting letters he wrote from prison before he was released and murdered a woman.
Matthew Williams brutally murdered Cerys Yemm, 22, in a barbaric attack at a hostel just two weeks after he was released from prison in 2013.
The 34-year-old died shortly from a cardiac arrest after being Tasered four times by police officers who rushed to the scene.
Years later, Williams’ ex-girlfriend Emma Thomas and his father Chris Williams have decided to release drawings and letters written by him.
And they raise serious concerns about the decision to give Williams back his liberty, report WalesOnline.
His vicious attack Cerys left her with shocking injuries including the removal of her left eye, nose, ears and mouth, which resulted in both of the facial arteries being severed.
Chris Williams and Emma Thomas say that Cerys should not have had to die.
One haunting picture that Williams drew four months before his release from Parc Prison in Bridgend, shows a grinning skull with a message beneath saying: “God forgive me for my sins and the ones I am about to do, too”.
Another has the same slogan, with a more complex drawing that includes two skulls, a man looking out of a prison window, a clock, an hourglass, a devil figure and a blackbird, for centuries regarded as a symbol of death.
A third drawing depicts a topless woman with a caption alongside which states: “As sure as the sun will shine, I’m going to get what’s mine. Because the harder they come, the harder they fall.”
In letters sent from the prison to his former partner Emma Thomas, he threatened her and named police officers.
In one letter Williams wrote that he would “beat the f*** out of” Ms Thomas if she did not get back with him.
In another letter written to her, referring to a named police officer, he wrote: “I know where [name redacted] lives yeah. I’ll tell you now I’ll beat the f*** out of him. I [sic] beat his missus, his kids, anyone that’s in his house. Wait and see. I’ve had it with the police.”
Later in the same letter he wrote: “Well I can’t wait to get a nice pair of leather gloves … coz I’m gonna get away with murder, trust me. I’m too good, too brave and too ruthless.”
Williams referred to himself as “the Man”
The letters also include chilling poetry and prose that shows the instability of Williams’ mind as he veered from professions of love to threats and disturbing fantasy.
A report sent by Gwent Police to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) when Williams was still in prison stated: “It is clear by reading the letters there are serious concerns for the mental wellbeing of Williams.
“His letters are often ramblings and quickly turn from him expressing his love for Thomas to his hate for her.
“Williams is very capable of committing out [sic] the threats made within his letters. He has numerous convictions for theft and violence and he feels as if he has been ‘stitched up’ by the individuals he mentions within his letters and has nothing to lose when he is released”.
The report states that Ms Thomas did not wish to make a statement against Williams, although she maintains the police had initially not been prepared to take a statement from her and later she believed they had sufficient grounds with the letters to take action against Williams.
It also states that suitable safety plans were in place should Williams be released. The CPS did not authorise further charges for Williams.
Williams was in prison after being convicted of blackmailing a friend, Adam Gauntlett, who he accused of breaking his mobile phone.
A Probation Service report written in the run-up to Williams’ considered issues relating to Williams’ release, which was due to occur on October 23 2014.
It said: “Mr Williams is currently receiving no medication since his transfer to Parc Prison as the doctor deemed them unnecessary. Mr Williams stated that he is feeling fine, but still wants his medication. This needs to be addressed.
“Mr Williams has been placed on report a total of six times since returning to Parc Prison. Two of these altercations have involved violent behaviour. One involved allegedly sending a letter to another prisoner stating that he was going to assault them and members of their family upon release.
“… During this prison visit Mr Williams was asked if he would agree to being interviewed by police concerning the threatening letters he sent to his ex-partner, in which he also made threats to assault police officers and their families. Mr Williams reluctantly agreed to be interviewed.”
However, when police went to the prison to conduct the interview, Williams refused to leave his cell.
He was assessed by the Probation Service as being of medium risk to the public, known adults and children in the community.
The report concluded: “Mr Williams’ behaviour whilst subject to licence conditions and since being held on remand does not bode well when considering future compliance.
“Mr Williams has not shown any motivation to engage with prison or probation staff to try to prepare positively for any release … Mr Williams’ attitude and his threatening behaviour by letter whilst incarcerated exacerbates the concern. I do not therefore support release at this time.”
The report was signed off by Nick Tetley, offender manager, on September 3 2014.
Williams was released when he completed his sentence seven weeks later on October 23, 2014. He met Cerys Yemm days later on a night out and killed her on November 5 at the Sirhowy Arms hostel in Argoed,.
Consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr Shuja Reagu was involved with Williams’ treatment at Parc Prison between February and September 2014.
In a statement for the inquest held into his death, she raised doubts about whether he had really been a schizophrenic, and said that despite claiming to have heard voices for years, Williams appeared not to be exhibiting any psychotic symptoms. In July 2014 she discontinued his anti-psychotic medication.
But after the inquest, forensic psychologist Professor Robert Snowden of Cardiff University said that even a “cursory” pre-release risk assessment should have revealed that despite Williams’ apparent mental stability while in custody, the chances of his deteriorating as soon as he was released were “massive”.
Prof Snowden said he would have classed Williams as a “very high” risk of harm to the public, because of his past use of weapons, which meant that violence could be fatal.
Williams’ non-compliance with medication and the efforts of people to help him was also a warning sign, together with his “massive amount of drug use from an early age”.
Of the threatening letters, Prof Snowden said it was “amazing that those weren’t acted on”, as they would have provided an opportunity for Williams to have been detained.
William’s ex girlfriend Emma Thomas is now 42. She met Williams in 2003 when he was living next door to her mother.
Speaking to WalesOnline in her first media interview, she said: “We became friends and went out to pubs together. I was with him for 18 months then, and had two kids from a previous relationship.
Before he went to prison he was in Ty Sirhowy [a mental health unit]. He was sectioned. That went on for a couple of months. After that he went to prison in 2005. I think he did four years out of a large sentence. I carried on visiting him because he needed me.
“When he got out he moved in with me. We went for a baby straight away and a little boy was born in June 2009.
“The relationship started to go downhill from then. Now and again – not all the time – he would be off doing his own thing. There were a couple of visits from the police because of him. They were the times we would split up because I didn’t want that. It went on for quite a while.
“Then it came to a point when the relationship had to end. He’d been violent towards me the last time I saw him in 2012. The last time I actually seen him was in June 2012. And then he went to prison for two years.
“From prison he kept writing to me. He tried to ring a few times. I was refusing the calls. I was trying to move on with my life – but at the same time still knowing that he needed me. I felt responsible for him because I knew he couldn’t come out and do this on his own.
“I did say to people in higher authorities he needs me and I don’t know what he’s going to do if I’m not there for him. Because that’s the way it was like. And then he went to prison for all that time and in the mean time while he was still in prison I had a couple of visits from the police.
“I had some threatening letters from Matthew towards police officers, their wives and children. I knew that Matthew knew where these people lived. And I really took what he put in his letter seriously because this time I thought he really meant it..
So I called the police with this letter because I didn’t know what else to do. The police came here and they said, there’s nothing we can do about it because he hasn’t directly threatened the police officer, but he’s told it to you in a letter. So I was just left with my letter.
“I tried to help. Nobody wanted to know.
“A couple more letters came – I was sharing my letters with a friend, and she was showing concern about the way he was writing letters: how he was so loving one minute and then so nasty the next.
“One letter came and I made a statement to the police. It took about two and a half hours to take the statement – it was a male police officer and a woman police officer who attended. I took about two and a half hours to make an 11-page statement.
“At the end of the statement a certain officer said we’ll just put at the end that you’re scared and don’t want to carry on with the statement. I was left a bit confused because I’d just made that statement and I did want somebody to do something about it.
“I let it go, I just left them carry on. I didn’t understand what was going on by now so I just went along with that. They didn’t want to do anything about that 11-page statement which could have kept him in prison.”
She said that it was September, when Williams was due out, that Gwent Police asked her to proceed. But it felt like they were “stitching Matthew up”.
Ms Thomas said that when she got to know him, Williams’ character could change suddenly.
“He was a schizophrenic. He would just turn for no apparent reason. It wouldn’t be triggered by anything in particular. We had loads of rows but he didn’t get violent. But then we could be doing something normal and he’d just turn. He has been violent towards me. It would be when Matthew’s head would just go. I can’t say there would be warning, because it would just happen.
“We’d be just talking and then he’d just say they were coming to get him. Nothing I could say or do would stop him. The things he would say, he must have been hallucinating. He would talk about people or living creatures that weren’t there. He’d say there’s a good one and a bad one.
“The last time he hit me, I thought that’s the last time, because I honestly thought he was going to kill me. It was that bad, it did absolutely scare me to death.
“I did say to authorities, and it may even be in a statement somewhere, if his head goes again then he’s going to kill me next time. I thought if his head goes again, he’s going to kill someone – and he did. He did.
“He shouldn’t have been released – not from what the police had seen in those letters. The mental health authorities should have been alerted and he should have been sectioned. There was no hope left for him after what he had been writing.”
Williams’ father Chris Williams also has concerns about the release of his son and the fact that, as he sees it, no one has been held to account for what happened.
He said: “Matthew’s major mental health problems began when he was round about 16. He was diagnosed at the time as a paranoid schizophrenic. I would think it was probably drug-related as well.
“He was hearing voices. I know that on occasions he thought he was a tree and his arms were branches.”
Asked about the pictures Williams drew in his cell and the threatening letters he sent, Mr Williams said: “Well he wasn’t all there. The names of the officers in there were those who harassed him all the time. And he did want to kill them.
“He did have a lot of anger against them. I thought Matthew would actually kill somebody, but I thought it would be in a fight and that he’d just lose it. I never ever envisaged the incident that happened.
About the threatening letters, Mr Williams said: “Matthew should have been arrested. As Prof Snowden said, because of those letters, he should never have been allowed out. Two people would still be alive.
“How they ever let those letters go out, I’ve no idea. The letters should have been flagged and he should have been gate arrested.
“After [Labour MP] Jo Cox was murdered, a guy made threats online and he was arrested. And yet they had all these letters for months and just disregarded them because they thought they were going to get him on something else.”
Detective Chief Superintendent Nicky Brain, of Gwent Police, said: “The events that happened on 6th November 2014 were particularly difficult and harrowing for all involved. The circumstances which led to the death of Cerys Yemm and Matthew Williams were conveyed to both families by Gwent Police and officers dealt with the family as sensitively as possible in what can only be described as heart breaking circumstances.
“We apologise if this, in any way, upset the family, but all steps were taken to support and assist the family throughout the investigation and inquest. We again would like to offer our sincere condolences to both families.”
In 2017 the Independent Police Complaints Commission released a statement saying the way in which Gwent Police monitored Matthew Williams after his release from prison on October 23 2014 was “appropriate”.
Jan Williams, the IPCC Commissioner for Wales, said at the time: “Gwent Police were concerned about Mr Williams’ release at the end of his sentence and had visited him with his probation officer to advise him of support services after prison, but Mr Williams declined assistance.
“The force took what steps they could to monitor him after release, taking into account there were no licence conditions attached.”
A statement from the Independent Office for Police Conduct, the successor body to the IPCC, said: “At the time of his release, Gwent Police were investigating a number of threatening letters thought to be from Matthew Williams and had liaised with the Crown Prosecution Service, but were advised there was insufficient evidence to proceed at that stage and that further investigation was required.
“Shortly before Mr Williams’ release from prison Gwent Police drew up a safety plan and sent an awareness bulletin to their officers. A further bulletin after his release advised officers of where he was living. Following intelligence received, on November 3, 2014, officers executed a drugs search warrant at Mr Williams’ room at the hotel but nothing of evidential value was found and Mr Williams wasn’t there.”
The Ministry of Justice, responsible for probation in Gwent, did not wish to comment formally, but drew our attention to evidence given at the inquest into the deaths of Williams and Ms Yemm in 2017.
Jonathan Matthews, the probation services’s deputy head of public protection, said Williams had completed his prison sentence, so could not be forced to “work with” the service.
Nicholas Bowen QC, representing the Williams family, put it to Mr Matthews: “You could release someone who could be a ticking time bomb into the community with no power to do anything?”
Mr Matthews responded that many working in the field “have those concerns” but additional powers would require additional legislation.