A NEWPORT anti-domestic violence campaigner and a Plaid Cymru MS have both been ordered to appear in court over "highly inappropriate” comments on social media about a murder trial.

The Tweet was posted on Saturday by Rachel Williams in relation to the trial of Cwmbran pensioner Anthony Williams, who had admitted killing his wife Ruth, 67, five days into lockdown in March last year, but denied murder.

The message, written alongside a BBC article about the trial, said: “Another perp (perpetrator) using the ‘I just snapped’. It is complete bulls***! As so many of us will know, there would have been history of domestic abuse.


“I hope this jury finds him guilty of murder.

“Rest in peace, Ruth.”

South Wales Argus: Undated screengrab of the now deleted retweet by Plaid Cymru politician Helen Mary Jones. The Welsh Parliament MS has been ordered to appear in court after she retweeted "highly inappropriate" comments on social media about an ongoing murder tri

Picture: PA

The message was retweeted by Mid and West Wales MS Helen Mary Jones, and now both her and Ms Williams have been ordered to appear before Judge Paul Thomas at Swansea Crown Court tomorrow.

Ms Williams deleted the Tweet on Monday after she was contacted by Gwent Police officers on the instruction of the judge.

The issue can only now be reported after reporting restrictions were lifted on Wednesday.

No evidence was heard during the trial that the defendant had a history of domestic abuse.

In England and Wales, jurors are meant to deliver verdicts solely based on evidence heard in court, and told to ignore any information or commentary from external sources, including on social media.

A defendant has a right to a fair trial, and anything that creates a serious risk of prejudicing a case could lead to it being halted or scrapped.

The Contempt of Court Act makes it an offence to publish anything which could prejudice or impede a trial.

The tweet was posted after the jury in the murder trial had adjourned their deliberations for the weekend.

On their return to court on Monday, Judge Paul Thomas drew their attention to the social media commentary, saying: “It’s come to my attention that, over the weekend, there have been some highly inappropriate comments made on social media about this case.

“I should make it abundantly clear that those comments have not come from anybody connected with the case and, having been shown the contents of one such piece of social media, they clearly don’t have any idea about the evidence in this case or the issues in this case.”

The judge told prosecutor Matthew Roberts that domestic violence “is a terrible scourge”, but added that a “one-size-fits-all approach is highly inappropriate, particularly in this case”.

Addressing both prosecution and defence, Judge Thomas said: “This case will be before me on Thursday. Those involved will have to make themselves available on Thursday, and they should be told that forthwith.”

No jury members said they had seen the Twitter posts, and resumed their deliberations before finding Williams not guilty of murder on Monday afternoon.

He will be sentenced for manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility on Thursday after previously admitting the charge.

Ms Williams, who suffered 18 years of domestic abuse until her abuser shot her with a sawn-off shotgun in 2011, before killing himself, has since been at the forefront of campaigning for more support for victims of domestic abuse, and pioneered the Ask for Ani (Action Needed Immediately) scheme, of which the Duchess of Cornwall is a patron.

She confirmed she has been asked by the judge to attend the court on Thursday, but declined to comment.

A spokesman for Plaid Cymru said “it is not appropriate for the party to comment” about Ms Jones' summons to court.