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'I thought my domestic abuse nightmare was over, then I had a text in the middle of the night'

Wales Online logo Wales Online 27/02/2022 Nino Williams

Ceri Jones was about to go to sleep when her phone 'pinged'.

"I was in bed and I've been seeing someone and I had messaged goodnight and was dozing off," she said.

"I thought it might be a reply from the person I'm seeing, then saw it was from him. I ignored his message but phoned a friend who shot out of bed."

'Him' was her ex-husband, David Jones, who subjected his wife to years of abuse.

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David Jones, formerly of Ash Grove in Cimla, but now of Rectory Road in Neath, pleaded guilty to a charge of harassment to put someone in fear of violence, when he appeared in court in October.

He was made subject to a community order for 18 months, including provision for 31 days building better relationships requirement; 30 days rehabilitation requirement; alcohol counselling and personal wellbeing requirement. He was also told to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work, and pay £85 costs and £95 surcharge, making a total of £180.

In addition, he was made subject of a restraining order to last for three years, and was reminded he must not contact Ceri nor write about her on social media.

That should have been the end of it.

But Jones has now been back in court after breaching the restraining order by sending a series of messages to Ceri, leaving her in fear he was going to turn up at her home. The 39-year-old appeared in the dock at Swansea Magistrates' Court at the start of February, 2022, where he pleaded guilty to the breaches of the order, which lasts for three years, by attempting to phone Ms Jones, sending messages via WhatsApp, and liking a TikTok post.

The incident has brought it all back for Ceri.

Ceri Jones has urged other victims of domestic abuse to seek help from agencies such as Women's Aid © Adrian White Photography Ceri Jones has urged other victims of domestic abuse to seek help from agencies such as Women's Aid

She said she was in a vulnerable position when she met Jones. She had lost her father to cancer and lost her job as well because she'd taken time off to deal with the grief.

"He absolutely love bombed me; we moved in together after a week and were married within five months. It was very intense, and we would argue, but he would always apologise and we'd make up," she said previously.

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After they were married Ceri discovered her new husband had spent time in prison, but told her 'it had all been lies and he was not guilty'.

She said they had lived in England for a period of time, where he had turned up to her place of work and 'kicked off', embarrassing her in front of colleagues so much that she left the job. He promised to change, said he would stop drinking and threatened to kill himself or herself if she left.

He was convicted for battery of Ceri dating back to 2009, 'fuelled by alcohol', but it was only when he threatened to kill her that she decided it was time to break free from the relationship and she contacted Women's Aid for support.

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On one occasion in June, 2021, she had gone to visit her friend in Crynant in Neath, prompting her husband to send her text messages telling her to return home. He also went to the house where his wife was visiting and walked by outside with their dog, in a way to 'fear violence would be used against her'.

When she visited Crynant Rugby Club with her friends later she was followed by Jones who swiped a drink off the table and threatened her to come home or he 'would kill her'.

After the police became involved, and despite being on bail since July, in September Jones was seen driving past her home on numerous occasions, and sending further texts to her.

Then came the court case and the restraining order

But it was not going to stop Jones, as Ceri discovered when she received the texts recently.

"I was taking screenshots of the messages he was sending me and forwarding them to my friend and she was sending them on to South Wales Police.

"He was saying 'you can get me in trouble if you want to'. I was really scared that he was going to wind himself up because I was not answering him. It's only been a few months since the court case".

After his latest court hearing in February, Jones was released on conditional bail, to return on March 1 for sentencing, following the compilation of a pre-sentence report by the probation service.

Ms Jones added: "I was panicking when I received the messages from him.

"I checked on my daughter to make sure she was ok, but when the messages stopped for an hour, I thought he was making his way to find us. I thought, oh my god, he is actually coming here.

"It was such a relief when he was finally arrested. He has not learned. He has never let go".

Previously, she urged women to be aware of the signs someone was a potential abuser and to seek help.

"I desperately advise any woman to be aware of any red flags when dating, and to consider using Claire’s law. Red flags you might notice could be never-ending compliments, excessive texting phoning, being charming, constant attention to you, claims you are soul mates, over gifting, being intense too quickly, trying to rush you into a relationship and always making themselves out to be a victim.

"Most importantly of all trust your instincts, if your gut tells you it’s too good to be true, it is. If you feel you are in this situation please reach out and tell someone, support is out there, please don’t waste as many years as I have."

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