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‘Absolute madness’ stalker to be freed despite parole panel deeming it unsafe

23 Nov 2023 4 minute read
CCTV footage of Rhianon Bragg being ambushed at gunpoint . Image Rhianon Bragg

A mother-of-four who was held at gunpoint by her stalker ex-boyfriend says it is “absolute madness” that he is due to be released from jail in February despite a parole panel finding he would not be safe in the community.

Gareth Wyn Jones, 59, is serving a four-and-a-half year jail term for holding Rhianon Bragg hostage overnight after she ended their relationship in 2019, stalking her and making threats to kill.

A Parole Board panel found this month that it would not be safe to release him and that he had never accepted culpability for his crimes, but he is due for automatic release in February.

The former mechanic will spend five years on licence when he is released from prison, meaning he will be managed by probation staff with the chance of being recalled to prison if he commits further crimes.

Blinkered

Ms Bragg, 51, from north Wales, told the PA news agency: “I cannot conceive how anything other than a completely blinkered, unjoined up, broken justice system, would release an offender that it had just classed as too high risk to release.

“It’s mind-blowing, absolute madness – what will they say to his next victims? It’s not like they’re pretending he won’t reoffend.

“We’re hoping for a workable, sustainably funded Victims Bill. I think there’s no hope of that, when the system can’t even contain known offenders.

“We are just guinea pigs.”

Jones was given an extended determinate sentence, where an offender receives a fixed jail term and an extended period on licence after their release.

These cases are usually considered by the Parole Board around two thirds into the prison sentence, in this case 18 months before release, but the process of gathering reports, speaking to witnesses, carrying out a paper review and then scheduling an oral hearing, which ultimately only took written evidence, took 15 months.

Entitlement

A summary of the Parole Board panel’s decision on Jones said that he had held “traditional beliefs around gender roles in relationships and evidenced jealousy and a sense of entitlement”, while struggling to manage conflict.

It found that he saw asking for help as a sign of weakness, and noted that there were emotional and mental health difficulties in this case.

A release plan where Jones would live in designated accommodation with strict limits on his contacts, movements and activities was not deemed robust enough.

The panel concluded: “After considering the circumstances of his offending, the progress made while in custody and the evidence presented in the dossier, the panel was not satisfied that release at this point would be safe for the protection of the public.”

Ms Bragg said: “I’m relieved the Parole Board recognise this offender can’t be safely managed in the community, because as one of his victims, I really don’t feel like I’ve been listened to at most stages of the justice process.

“I have always said that he was mentally unwell and that he wouldn’t think he had done anything wrong. I don’t think that’s really been taken into account, at least now that’s been stated.

“The night he held me hostage and was threatening to murder me, he even said that I had made his life harder because I hadn’t started a new relationship. He tried to use jealousy as an excuse, when there had never been anyone else to be jealous of.

“He had always said that his previous relationships failed because the women ran off with other men, he’s never confessed to any abuse. I’ve met both his ex wives, they’re amazing survivors, who I admire greatly.”

Jones began harassing Ms Bragg and her four children when she ended their five-year relationship in 2019.

She reported Jones to the police a number of times, and he was arrested three times and had his legally held guns taken away, but no further action was taken and his firearms were returned.

Prosecutors later admitted they could have charged Jones three months earlier with harassment and spared Ms Bragg her gunpoint ordeal.


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Jeff
Jeff
3 months ago

Justice system in the UK is broke. This is dangerous.

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