North Wales mum held at gunpoint says her stalker ex's prison release is 'absolute madness'

A mum-of-four is calling on the UK Government to stop the prison release of her ex-partner who stalked her before holding her hostage at gunpoint.

Rhianon Bragg, 51 from Snowdonia, believed Gareth Wyn Jones would be too high risk to be allowed back into the community - a belief backed by the parole board but under the law, he has served 4 and a half years and is up for automatic release in February.

Rhianon says it's "absolute madness" and is concerned about the safety of herself and her children. She said: "One way or another there has been no respite from this situation since it started. There are various measures and preparations which are being put in place. Some have already been put in place, whether that be protective or security.

"But all me and my children want to do is to live safely in our own home without fear from a known perpetrator and we shouldn't be arguing for that. We shouldn't have to be pleading for that to be something that happens.

Gareth Wyn Jones, was jailed for four-and-a-half years for a number of offences, including keeping her at gunpoint.

The family live in a rural location and she says that is an issue. She said: "Living rurally there aren't witnesses. There aren't people who will check to see if bounds are broken and how long will it take for someone to get here anyway?.

"My fear is that the criminal justice system is very happy to use us as guinea pigs and that is wrong. Domestic abuse is not treated with the gravity it should be by the government."

She says "the parole board can't do anything" about her former partner's release so her last hope is the Lord Chancellor Alex Chalk. She told ITV Wales: "I am in the process of writing a letter with Liz Saville-Roberts asking for the Lord Chancellor's intervention. I cannot see how anyone could allow this release to go ahead.

"I am hoping to meet with him and that he will in some way prevent his automatic release in the middle of February."

Rhianon's story "highlights how little status is given to victims," says Liz Saville-Roberts, Plaid Cymru MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd.

She told ITV Wales: "It goes from the nature of the charges that were put against her abuser, the sentencing, the restraining order and licence conditions that are now put down on him.

"The way that she (Rhianon) was treated, I know her medical notes were handed to her abuser at one stage. At every stage, as the victim, she has been mistreated by the justice system that should have been there to protect her."

Ms Saville-Roberts said she regularly hears about cases like Rhianon's and says it is "shameful". She said: "What we find again and again and again, I’ve had this as a member of Parliament and it plays up in a rural area in particular.

"You’ve got to remember where the victims can be very remote, sometimes the protection that is put in place is not 'real protection'. The victim does not feel safe."

"We have a situation here now, where this man, this offender that the parole board decided last week is too dangerous to be released early, will be released in February come what way. Even though none of the provision, none of the training he has received in prison has made him any safer in the parole board’s eyes to his victim."

Liz Saville-Roberts says the justice system needs to make sure that victims of domestic abuse are safe when their perpetrators come out. She said: "We need restraining orders that we know will actually protect her and her family and all the other people who find themselves in the same position as her.

"We need licence conditions that will do the same and there is the domestic offenders register is now in place. How will that play out in relation to this abuser?

She added: "We need to make sure that victims of domestic abuse are safe when their perpetrators come out and I fear what we are seeing at the moment with this case is just an example of how unsafe the justice system maintains their condition to be."

Extended determinate sentences were introduced in 2012 with offenders required to spend part of their sentence in custody and the remaining part in the community under close supervision.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “Offenders on Extended Determinate Sentences must be released at the end of their custodial term but face years of strict supervision by the Probation Service, with strict licence conditions such as exclusion zones and curfews.

"They will be returned to prison if they break them."

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