THE owner of the hotel where Cerys Yemm was killed by Matthew Williams in November 2014 told an inquest into their deaths that she had spent two years trying to forget the “horrific” scene she walked in on.
A visibly distressed Mandy Miles told Gwent Coroner’s Court sitting in Newport, that when she unlocked Williams’ door in the early hours of Thursday, November 6, 2014, after other residents reported hearing screams she saw him lying, covered in blood, on top of an apparently lifeless Miss Yemm.
Earlier, the court was shown CCTV footage of her entering the room, shortly after 1am.
On a recording of the panicked phone call she made shortly afterwards to police, which accompanied part of the footage, Mrs Miles is heard saying she thought he was eating her.
“Oh my God, it’s awful,” she told the police control room operator.”
In her evidence later, she said: “It did look like that, even though science has shown he wasn’t.”
She thought she had seen Williams using “either a screwdriver or his fingers” on Miss Yemm and “it looked to me as if he was eating her.
“His head was down in hers. I said “Matthew do you know what you’re doing?”,” said Mrs Miles.
In response to Mrs Miles’ son Christian saying “that’s a girl there”, Mrs Miles told the inquest that Williams had said “that’s no girl.”
“There was blood dripping from him. It was horrific. He didn’t react to me, he reacted to Christian.”
Mrs Miles said Miss Yemm was not moving, and she was sure she was dead.
“If she had moved or anything like that, I think I would have had to hit him with a fire extinguisher.”
Nicholas Bowen QC, representing the Williams family, said to Mrs Miles: “You have told the press that there was no cannibalism.”
Mrs Miles said she had “kept saying that because a lot of stuff has been made up, and it never came from me, and I would never say that.”
Of what she believed she had seen at the time, she told Mr Bowen: “To me, I saw him eating her. That is what I thought I saw.”
But she said that subsequently “I have told people he did not, because Matthew’s mother said the autopsy showed he did not.”
Mrs Miles said Williams, aged 34, had been found a place at the Sirhowy Arms Hotel by Caerphilly council, following his release from prison on October 23.
She was aware of a problem he caused on a previous stay, and said had she known of the planned placement she would not have agreed to it. But she said she had been away and her daughter had arranged it.
She said the hotel operated as a bed and breakfast, and the council placed people there.
“I was told they were prison leavers but nothing else. I was never sure what people had been in prison for,” said Mrs Miles.
“I asked the question but was never told. I was not allowed to know.”
She told Mr Bowen she did not want to take in people with severe mental health problems but was never told of residents’ backgrounds due to data protection issues.
Her stance stemmed, she said, from several years before when a resident had left the hotel and attacked and killed a woman.
“I said (to the council) don’t ever send me anyone like that again, because I told you he was unstable,” said Mrs Miles.
She added that the council had “issued a letter saying I knew who I had at the hotel and that is not true. I never knew.”
Asked by Mr Bowen if it was “fair to say you had a pretty serious issue with the council?,” Mrs Miles replied: “Yes.”
She added she did not get risk assessments for the people who stayed at the hotel.
“I am not told what they are like,” she said.
Asked by Mr Bowen “you mean you are not willing to (see a risk assessment)?”, Mrs Miles replied: “I have never had a choice. If I looked at people’s risk assessments, the hotel would be empty.” She added that she had “never seen a single risk assessment.”
Mr Bowen said “might (Caerphilly council) say that they do not do it because the probation service do it?” to which Mrs Miles replied: “I don’t work with probation. I have never worked with probation, never seen an officer.”
She agreed when asked by Mr Bowen if she was saying that if she had a resident who was “someone who was perhaps a murderer out on licence”, that she would not be told.
“My life has been in danger as much as anyone else’s and I am furious about it,” said Mrs Miles.
Williams’ mother Sally Ann, in a statement read to the inquest jury, claimed her son had been released from Parc prison near Bridgend in October 2014 with no support to help him with his mental health problems. He told her he was released with no medication.
She said he had seemed all right at first, but when she met him in Blackwood on November 3 he told her things were not going well, he was feeling paranoid, and “the voices were back in his head”.
Rhodri Moore told the inquest he had renewed an old friendship with Williams on the latter’s release from prison.
Questioned by Alison Hewitt, representing coroner David Bowen, about Williams’ drug habits, Mr Moore said he believed his friend “used to take a lot of amphetamines and a lot of meow (mephedrone).”
He said Williams “didn’t seem very well” in the days before the attack, adding that he was having hallucinations, and had told him he saw faces in soft drinks cans and in toast.
He said Williams met Cerys Yemm around the end of October. They had been “flirty” and Williams had shown no obvious signs of aggression towards her.
They had spent several hours at Mr Moore’s house in Argoed, along the road from the Sirhowy Arms Hotel, drinking lager and smoking cannabis on the evening prior to their deaths.
Miss Yemm, aged 22, had been on the phone to her former partner at Mr Moore’s that night, a man called Jay, whom Williams had known in prison.
Miss Yemm’s mother, Paula Yemm, in a statement also read out at the inquest, said her daughter had been in what she considered to be a “controlling” relationship with Jay.
She said Jay said he had a previous conversation with Cerys about Matthew Williams and had told her that he was a “nightmare” and to stay away from him.