'Horrific' scene at Wales hotel room where woman died, inquest hears

'Horrific' scene at Wales hotel room where woman died, inquest hears
File photo dated 06/11/14 of the Sirhowy Arms Hotel in Argoed, Blackwood, south Wales.

The room where a young woman was killed by a former convict who had been released from prison just weeks before was "horrific" and "covered in blood", an inquest has heard.

Cerys Yemm, 22, died from her injuries at the Sirhowy Arms Hotel in Argoed, Blackwood, South Wales, in the early hours of November 6 2014.

Gwent Coroner's Court in Newport heard her attacker, hotel guest Matthew Williams, 34, also died at the scene shortly after police discharged a Taser and arrested him.

On Monday, coroner David T Bowen, told jurors that Miss Yemm met Williams two weeks before her death, on a night out in Blackwood.

The alarm was raised after other residents of the hotel heard screaming coming from Williams' room at around 1am and the owner of the Sirhowy Arms, Mandy Miles, was called and opened Williams' door with a key from the office.

Mr Bowen said: "Mrs Miles will describe what she saw - a girl lying on her back on the floor with Matthew Williams lying on top of her, and that the scene was horrific, with blood everywhere.

"It seems that Mrs Miles will say that she did not see any sign of life in the girl.

"Mrs Miles spoke to Matthew Williams who responded aggressively and carried on attacking her.

"Mrs Miles closed the door and went immediately to phone the police."

Mr Bowen said Miss Yemm lived at home with her mother. He said she kept in touch with Williams and spent time with him after meeting him on a night out in Blackwood.

Williams had been released from prison around two weeks previously, having served the whole of a 27-month sentence at HMP Parc in Bridgend.

He had been provided with accommodation at the Sirhowy Arms Hotel by Caerphilly County Borough Council, Mr Bowen said.

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

Mr 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.

"When at about 11.30pm, Matthew Williams left his friend's home to return to the Sirhowy Arms, Miss Yemm went with him."

The jury heard the communal areas of the establishment were covered by CCTV and that they would be shown footage of Miss Yemm and Williams arriving and of Williams leaving his room twice between midnight and 1am.

"Approximately 20 minutes later, at 1.07am, other residents of the hotel heard screaming coming from Matthew's room," said Mr Bowen.

"Several residents gathered outside the door, knocking and asking what had happened."

That was when Mrs Miles went to unlock Williams' door.

The inquest heard police arrived at 1.37am and initially three officers entered the room and would tell jurors about the force used to restrain Williams.

Mr Bowen said: "That force included the use of a Taser, which was both discharged and used in stun mode more than once."

Paramedics arrived at 1.48am and Mr Bowen said they quickly formed the view that Miss Yemm was dead, but at that point, Williams was breathing.

He later stopped breathing and, despite attempts to resuscitate him, was pronounced dead at 2.18am.

Mr Bowen told the jurors they would be hearing about the medical causes of death for both Miss Yemm and Williams and would be required to look at whether the use of force by the police "caused or substantially contributed to his (Williams') death and if it did whether that use of force was reasonable in the circumstances".

The inquest would also hear evidence about any drugs or alcohol Williams may have taken and what part that may have played.

Mr Bowen said the circumstances around Williams' release from prison would also be heard, as well as his mental health and history of contact with mental health services.

He urged the jurors to keep an open mind about the issues until they had heard all of the evidence and reminded them that the purpose of an inquest was not to find fault.

He said: "No one is on trial and no one can be found guilty of anything."

The seven men and four women of the jury are expected to hear from 43 witnesses during the hearing which is expected to take up to four weeks.

After outlining the background to the case, Mr Bowen adjourned the hearing to Wednesday morning.

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