MALPAS ROAD SHOOTING REPORT: Tragic teen failed by agencies

TROUBLED FAMILY: Rachel, Jack and Darren Williams

BEST FRIENDS: Darren Williams with his son Jack Williams

SHOOTING HORROR: The Argus front page after the shooting in Malpas

First published in News South Wales Argus: Photograph of the Author by

A TEENAGER found hanged six weeks after his father gunned down his mother before killing himself was failed by those who should have helped him, a report has revealed.

A serious case review into the death of 16-year-old Jack Williams, of Brynglas, Newport, and the attempted murder of his mother, Rachel, found Newport council’s children’s services failed to carry out a multiagency assessment following the death of his father, Darren Williams, which could have resulted in action to safeguard the boy.

A social worker also failed to inform health professionals after Jack self-harmed a week after the tragedy on August 19, 2011, and an assessment of him did not address whether he was in need of protection.

Jack was found hanged in Brynglas Woods on September 26 – the same place his father was found hanged on August 19 six hours after shooting his estranged wife at the Carol Ann Hair Salon in Malpas Road, where she was working.

An inquest into both deaths is yet to be held.

A report, to be made public today, will say that while Mr Williams was known to police and health services, there was nothing to alert them to any concerns about the family before the shooting.

It will say that while Mrs Williams alleges years of domestic abuse at his hands, this was not known to anyone outside of the family, and that because of the speed at which the incidents escalated, police did not have time to investigate one allegation before another was made.

It adds that Mr Williams could have been better supported by health professionals upon his release from hospital after suicide attempts prior to the shooting.

Mr Williams was on bail charged with assaulting his wife in the weeks before the shooting and police were also investigating threats to kill the man whom he believed she had been unfaithful with.

He was bailed to live with his sister and conditions preventing him returning to the marital home were put in place. New locks and panic alarms were fitted to the house.

Mrs Williams expressed concerns to health professionals about her husband’s mental state and fears about what he might do given their marriage breakdown in July 2011. These fears increased in the days leading up to the shooting, but they did not think he posed any risk to Mrs Williams and were “shocked” by his attempt to murder her, the report says.

They were instead concerned about preventing him from self-harming after he was hospitalised after trying to take his own life three times.

Mrs Williams maintains she was not shocked by his actions as he had always made it clear that he would “take her with him rather than live without her”. Her previous attempts to leave him failed because of this.

The emergency services had numerous contacts with the family in the weeks leading up to the shooting and Mrs Williams was considered at “high risk” from her husband.

Police dealt with seven calls to the control room between July 9 and August 18 and Mrs Williams visited her local police station twice.

A total of 24 officers were involved with the family before the shooting and 34 up to the time of Jack’s death.

The police tried and failed to get Mr Williams remanded in custody, although psychiatric assessment said this was not needed, and the offence with which he was charged – assault by beating – was not an imprisonable offence. He was granted bail and shot his wife seven days later.

While he was on bail, Mrs Williams’ family contacted police twice claiming Mr Williams had breached his bail – attending a gym in the area he was banned from entering, and going to the marital home and pouring bleach on his wife’s clothes.

Report calls for key changes

THE report makes several recommendations, including writing to the Home Office to ask if courts could consider the views of victims when granting bail to those facing charges in the criminal courts.

It also recommends making sure all agencies are involved when considering the risk of children living with domestic violence and ensuring information about people identified as posing a risk to others is shared across all services.

It says the Aneurin Bevan Health Board should make sure adults who attempt suicide are given the appropriate support once discharged from hospital and Gwent Police should consider creating a single domestic violence team to enable a clear focus on it as a serious crime in its own right.

The report reveals Gwent Police have already introduced better intelligence and information sharing through their daily management meetings where decisions about proactive steps to protect victims are made.

It says this, coupled with further training for call handlers and officers on domestic abuse, should avoid the mishandling of calls and information, which occurred in this case.

ARGUS COMMENT: Failed by the system

“TRAGICALLY there are lessons to be learnt, but sadly at the cost of my beautiful son.”

The words are from Rachel Williams in response to an official report into the deaths of her estranged husband, who shot her in a Newport hair salon, and her teenage son.

The report highlights a number of failings from professionals from a number of agencies who had dealt with the Williams family in 2011.

Hindsight is, of course, a wonderful thing but the report into the death of 16-year-old Jack Williams suggests there was a lack of communication between agencies and a failure to properly appreciate the impact a tragic chain of events had on the youngster’s state of mind.

Darren Williams had shot Rachel before taking his own life in nearby woodland. Jack was found hanged in the same spot six weeks later.

It is a terrible tragedy that has torn a family in two.

Today’s report basically says the professionals dealing with the Williams family in the aftermath of the shooting and suicide did not talk to each other. Police twice referred their concerns about the teenager to social services but no action was taken. A child psychiatrist helping Jack was not told by police of incidents outside his grandmother’s house.

The people who were meant to be helping Jack simply did not share vital information.

We have no doubt they were trying to do their best for Jack.

But they did not give him the help he so desperately needed.

And the lessons fromthis tragedy must improve matters in the future

Comments (11)

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1:44pm Wed 28 Nov 12

rhinestine says...

Very sad indeed, poor lad.
Very sad indeed, poor lad. rhinestine
  • Score: 0

3:43pm Wed 28 Nov 12

SizzlerTrainers says...

rhinestine wrote:
Very sad indeed, poor lad.
Agreed, very sad course of events for all involved.
[quote][p][bold]rhinestine[/bold] wrote: Very sad indeed, poor lad.[/p][/quote]Agreed, very sad course of events for all involved. SizzlerTrainers
  • Score: 0

5:21pm Wed 28 Nov 12

keza1 says...

Social services what a bunch of jokers u should be ashamed i hope u **** cant sleep at night ..i would love 2 know what u get paid for as i know thro experience you either hinder people or do **** all for em ..
Social services what a bunch of jokers u should be ashamed i hope u **** cant sleep at night ..i would love 2 know what u get paid for as i know thro experience you either hinder people or do **** all for em .. keza1
  • Score: 0

6:36pm Wed 28 Nov 12

sa5555 says...

My son (Jacks best friend) and I rang the police when Jack had text him that he was going to kill himself, they found him in time with cut wrists. The police knew he was suicidle but did nothing! not only the services but his whole family let him down!!!
My son (Jacks best friend) and I rang the police when Jack had text him that he was going to kill himself, they found him in time with cut wrists. The police knew he was suicidle but did nothing! not only the services but his whole family let him down!!! sa5555
  • Score: 0

10:58pm Wed 28 Nov 12

alongfortheride says...

sa5555 wrote:
My son (Jacks best friend) and I rang the police when Jack had text him that he was going to kill himself, they found him in time with cut wrists. The police knew he was suicidle but did nothing! not only the services but his whole family let him down!!!
Sa555 the article says police referred him to social services and THEY did nothing.

I think the police failed more on their actions in relation to the complaints of assault and domestic violence, nt the secondary welfare of the family I think that was social services failing.

It's very sad
[quote][p][bold]sa5555[/bold] wrote: My son (Jacks best friend) and I rang the police when Jack had text him that he was going to kill himself, they found him in time with cut wrists. The police knew he was suicidle but did nothing! not only the services but his whole family let him down!!![/p][/quote]Sa555 the article says police referred him to social services and THEY did nothing. I think the police failed more on their actions in relation to the complaints of assault and domestic violence, nt the secondary welfare of the family I think that was social services failing. It's very sad alongfortheride
  • Score: 0

11:09pm Wed 28 Nov 12

GwentVoice says...

There seems to be more and more high level complaints against Gwent Police since the current Chief Constable has been in post.

Maybe she needs to concentrate a bit more on policing and this tragedy could have been avoided.
There seems to be more and more high level complaints against Gwent Police since the current Chief Constable has been in post. Maybe she needs to concentrate a bit more on policing and this tragedy could have been avoided. GwentVoice
  • Score: 0

8:01am Thu 29 Nov 12

SpeakNow says...

Why was a shy teenager already devastated by events shoved in front of TV reporters and allowed to be photographed by journalists?Social services should have stepped in when told he was staying in a hostile environment. As for the family not recognising this "violent" person,they had both witnessed and been on the receiving end of it.
Why was a shy teenager already devastated by events shoved in front of TV reporters and allowed to be photographed by journalists?Social services should have stepped in when told he was staying in a hostile environment. As for the family not recognising this "violent" person,they had both witnessed and been on the receiving end of it. SpeakNow
  • Score: 0

3:00pm Thu 29 Nov 12

Dee-Gee says...

This is such a heartwrenchingly sad case.

Domestic violence has been a hugely damaging blight on our society for countless generations, yet is still woefully misunderstood and the damage underestimated.
This is such a heartwrenchingly sad case. Domestic violence has been a hugely damaging blight on our society for countless generations, yet is still woefully misunderstood and the damage underestimated. Dee-Gee
  • Score: 0

1:03am Fri 30 Nov 12

jewels1512 says...

So called "family members" were entrusted to look after Jack while his mum was in hospital but all they did was use him as a weapon to try and destroy his mum who they blamed for everything. I agree that social services should never have let them parade him in front of cameras etc. A terrible tragedy that could easily have been avoided! R.I.P Jack xx
So called "family members" were entrusted to look after Jack while his mum was in hospital but all they did was use him as a weapon to try and destroy his mum who they blamed for everything. I agree that social services should never have let them parade him in front of cameras etc. A terrible tragedy that could easily have been avoided! R.I.P Jack xx jewels1512
  • Score: 0

7:58am Fri 30 Nov 12

sa5555 says...

jewels1512 wrote:
So called "family members" were entrusted to look after Jack while his mum was in hospital but all they did was use him as a weapon to try and destroy his mum who they blamed for everything. I agree that social services should never have let them parade him in front of cameras etc. A terrible tragedy that could easily have been avoided! R.I.P Jack xx
jewels1512 wrote:
So called "family members" were entrusted to look after Jack while his mum was in hospital but all they did was use him as a weapon to try and destroy his mum who they blamed for everything. I agree that social services should never have let them parade him in front of cameras etc. A terrible tragedy that could easily have been avoided! R.I.P Jack xx



I totally agree Jewels, it is easy to blame the authorities, but the primary responsibilty of Jack falls to the family, if he was my son i would never have let him out of my sight. my son's mum had to practically beg Jack's mum to speak to him, there was too much of family in fighting and total NEGLECT of jack by his family! RIP Jack
[quote][p][bold]jewels1512[/bold] wrote: So called "family members" were entrusted to look after Jack while his mum was in hospital but all they did was use him as a weapon to try and destroy his mum who they blamed for everything. I agree that social services should never have let them parade him in front of cameras etc. A terrible tragedy that could easily have been avoided! R.I.P Jack xx[/p][/quote]jewels1512 wrote: So called "family members" were entrusted to look after Jack while his mum was in hospital but all they did was use him as a weapon to try and destroy his mum who they blamed for everything. I agree that social services should never have let them parade him in front of cameras etc. A terrible tragedy that could easily have been avoided! R.I.P Jack xx I totally agree Jewels, it is easy to blame the authorities, but the primary responsibilty of Jack falls to the family, if he was my son i would never have let him out of my sight. my son's mum had to practically beg Jack's mum to speak to him, there was too much of family in fighting and total NEGLECT of jack by his family! RIP Jack sa5555
  • Score: 0

3:12pm Fri 30 Nov 12

nonbiase says...

Its easy to point fingers when were not part of it. As I can gather, his mum was in hospital recovering, and it seems to me,that thug's family were blaming Rachel for his death, and used that poor boy like a vessel to voice there anger. It seems she trusted Jack was in safe hands with his family and he ended up dead, it speaks for its self really. And it stated in one paper, that her family were embroiled in her health, and couldnt give Jack the sympathy for his fathers death, which if we are honest, is quite understandable. His family should of provided duty of care to that boy, and in my eyes could of protected him more. Was it them who put him in front of the cameras?? who in there right mind would do that?!?!
Its easy to point fingers when were not part of it. As I can gather, his mum was in hospital recovering, and it seems to me,that thug's family were blaming Rachel for his death, and used that poor boy like a vessel to voice there anger. It seems she trusted Jack was in safe hands with his family and he ended up dead, it speaks for its self really. And it stated in one paper, that her family were embroiled in her health, and couldnt give Jack the sympathy for his fathers death, which if we are honest, is quite understandable. His family should of provided duty of care to that boy, and in my eyes could of protected him more. Was it them who put him in front of the cameras?? who in there right mind would do that?!?! nonbiase
  • Score: 0

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