February 3, 2023

The Justice Department is facing criticism for inadvertently sending a violent stalker intimate details about the anguish his victim and her family suffered over his horrific campaign.

Rhianon Bragg, who fears Gareth Wyn Jones could target her and her family again if he is released from prison, said the Justice Department had given him more “ammunition”.

In the new year, Jones will try to convince the Parole Board that he should be released before the end of a four-and-a-half-year sentence for felonies, including holding Bragg at gunpoint for eight hours.

As part of the parole process, the Justice Department’s Department of Public Protection prepared a file on his case that was sent to Jones and, erroneously, included a letter from a clinical psychologist who worked with Bragg detailing the impact of his case. crimes against her and her family.

The letter was sent to Jones in February, but Bragg was not made aware of the error until this month. The MoJ described the error as “unacceptable” and launched an investigation.

Bragg, 50, who lives with her four children in a remote hillside community in North Wales, said: “It is an absolutely horrific situation. They shared with him my mental health assessment, my diagnosis. They shared intimate information about me and the children.

“You want to keep everything from someone like him. I can’t fathom how serious the damage this will do. They gave ammunition to a dangerous man. What additional measures will now be taken to protect us?”

The parole hearing was due to take place earlier this month, but had already been postponed until at least the end of January before the error was realized.

Bragg said: “When I was told the hearing had been postponed, I was in a state of trance. They had allayed the fear of what was about to happen. I had certainty – we were safe for six weeks. That has been lost. I can’t concentrate, I can’t sleep. How can you trust a criminal justice system that has not got the basics right?”

Bragg campaigned for the parole hearing to be made public, but the Chair of the Parole Board for England and Wales, Caroline Corby, ruled that Jones’ mental health problems could be made worse by a public hearing.

Bragg said: “His privacy is recognized as an essential human right and fully respected. Yet it completely failed to have the same level for my rights. It makes my human rights seem unimportant to the criminal justice system, not for the first time.”

Bragg vacationing with Gareth Wyn Jones in 2016.
Bragg vacationing with Gareth Wyn Jones in 2016.

Liz Saville Roberts, Plaid Cymru leader in Westminster and North Wales Member of Parliament, said: “It is appalling that sensitive information about Rhianon’s mental health has been handed to her captor.

“The criminal justice system has been effective in enabling this violent abuser to maintain control and emotionally traumatize his victim through this negligence.

“Rhianon shows tremendous courage in shedding light on the disparity of guns among victims and the state-mandated priority of the rights of perpetrators. The decision to hold the offender’s parole hearing in private should be reversed, as it is clear that justice should be seen as a matter of public interest.”

The daughter of a clergyman, Bragg began a relationship with Jones, a mechanic, after moving to her family’s small farm in Rhosgadfan, Gwynedd.

During the five-year relationship, Jones, now 58, regularly called names and physically abused her, and when she ended the relationship in 2019, he began stalking and threatening her. She also reported to the police that he threatened her children. During this time, Jones was arrested and his licensed firearms confiscated, but no further action was taken and his guns were returned.

In August 2019, he ambushed Bragg and held her at gunpoint for eight hours at night. She managed to get away by telling him she had to go to a doctor’s appointment. The police were called and in February 2020 Jones was convicted of stalking, false imprisonment, threat of death and possession of a firearm.

A Justice Department spokesman said: “The government has made significant changes in recent years to better protect victims of stalking, so we are deeply sorry for this unacceptable mistake and the distress Ms Bragg has caused. We take these types of errors extremely seriously and an investigation is underway to understand what happened.”

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