Hotel owner tells of horror as she walked in on Welsh cannibal murdering his victim
The owner of the hotel where Cerys Yemm was brutally murdered and cannibalised last week has described the horrific moment she walked in on the crime.
Mandy Miles, who owns the Sirhowy Arms Hotel, found bloodied Matthew Williams over the body of the Cerys Yemm, 22, and considered attacking him with a fire extinguisher.
And after making sure that brutally murdered Cerys was showing no signs of life she blockaded Williams in his room until police arrived.
Shaken Mandy said: “If that girl had been alive, I couldn’t have closed the door, I would’ve had to attack Matthew with the fire extinguisher.
“The amount of blood and the stillness of her, there were no signs of life at that point. I said to Matthew ‘do you know what you’re doing to that girl?’ “He said ‘that’s no girl’.”
Mandy described how Williams’ eyes were black and he was covered in blood. She said she saw broken china and that there were injuries to Miss Yemm’s neck and jaw.
She said: “I had to decide what the hell was going on and then I had residents behind me in danger.
“I rang 999 and I made damn well sure he couldn’t get out of that room. It was the fear of what he was capable of. He didn’t recognise me and he didn’t recognise what he was doing.
“I was holding onto the door knob so he couldn’t get out. I couldn’t let him flee the scene.
“I seriously had to make sure that girl was not there (still alive), or there would have been a battle. The police then came upstairs and took over.”
Mandy described how the terrifying moment she realised something was wrong at the B&B for the homeless in Argoed, Caerphilly.
She said: “I was messing about with Christmas presents, it was about 12.30am when my son Christian comes in [to her cottage on the site] and said ‘Mum, Matthew’s got a girl in his room’. (The site’s policy forbids that.)
“I said I didn’t even know Matthew was in, when people come into the hotel I get them to sign a register.
“If you leave you have to sign out so I know who’s in and out. I looked over the register and there was no sign of Matthew.
“I went upstairs [in the hotel] and someone said they heard a girl in there and she had been shouting for help.
“I banged Matthew’s door and said ‘Matthew, open the door, we know you’ve got a girl in there’ but we couldn’t hear anything.
“Christian said Matthew had shouted ‘I’m exercising’ earlier. He thought they were having sex.
“I went to the office and I got the key code, by then Christian was behind me and there were some other people in the hallway.
“I put the pin in the door and pushed the door open and there I saw Matthew. It was light because the chandelier above was shining on Matthew and this girl.”
Mrs Miles said she had been cooperating as much as she can with police.
She said Williams had been released from prison three weeks ago and had been staying at the 15-room hotel.
He had previously spent five days there in February, but was collected by probation after breaching his licence.
She added: “For the three weeks before, he had been really great. He asked for permission from stay out from the council, he asked me if I could do his washing for him. I told him that he was doing really well.
“I didn’t have any fear of Matthew. I didn’t know anything about him. The council are not told it either, it’s always ‘data protection’.
“All that happens is the phone goes and they [the council] ask, can we book a room. I go yes, what’s his name, his date of birth, any issues? That’s it.
“If there’s anything nasty, I don’t want that here. I’ve never had any hardened criminals.”
Mrs Miles added that Williams had told her he had been in prison for theft, rather than assaulting an ex-partner and has now called for more information to be shared between agencies so that she knows people’s backgrounds before she accepts them as residents.
She said: “It’s worrying, it’s terrifying.
“I need to know who is walking through my door.
“Someone needs to give me a bit of a heads up and people’s backgrounds.
“If they’ve come from prison, I think I personally should be told what’s happened.”
Mrs Miles houses people at the hotel for an average of six weeks and works hard to “fix” the people who come in through the door.
“I tell them, ‘don’t become a victim of your circumstances, don’t be a victim of your past’,” she added.
“It’s satisfying what I do. I can’t fix them all but I have a good go and if I can I will. I love everything about what I do.”
Mrs Miles added that she had been suffering flashbacks of the incident, which she described as “life-changing”.
She added: “I can never use that room again. Not for anything. I’m going to have the door removed, it’ll be an open room. I wouldn’t expect anyone to want to be in that room.”
She is also “devastated” by the way the hotel had been portrayed as a bail hostel, rather than a B&B establishment.
She told the Argus: “What we’re doing here is really positive.”
She said she gets people from all kinds of backgrounds at the hotel, including people who have been evicted, or have had a fire at home or have been referred there by social services.
“The police are outside most of the time but that’s not because people are kicking off,” she added. “When people have had an incident, a fire or they’ve been burgled or they’ve been hit over the head, the police bring them here and then they come back to the hotel to take statements from them.
“I can’t let people drink and smoke in the hotel. It’s really quiet here, it’s nice for people to recuperate and recover after they’ve had a shock or a fire.
“Because people are homeless doesn’t mean they’re nothing. It could happen to anyone.
“I’m so sorry that people feel it’s some sort of bail hostel where we tag people. I wouldn’t do that, I run it with my kids and my grandchildren come round.
“Homelessness, it’s got a stigma. I’m devastated at what people have said. It says hotel outside, we’re not a hostel.”
Newport-born actor Michael Sheen last month filmed in the hotel with the BBC for a programme on the 175th anniversary of the Chartist march, due to air next year.
Mrs Miles said Mr Sheen had sent his regards following the incident as well as many of the crew.
Despite last week’s horror, Mrs Miles said she will continue to operate the hotel, but she will be never use the room where Miss Yemm was killed and mutilated again.
It is alleged Williams was committing an act of cannibalism, but Gwent Police are refusing to confirm or deny the allegation.