HOME secretary Priti Patel has ordered Torfaen council to carry out a domestic homicide review into the case of Ruth Williams, a Cwmbran woman killed by her husband.

Mrs Williams, 67, was strangled by her husband of 46 years, Anthony, in the couple's home last March, in the early days of the first nationwide lockdown.

Last month, Antony Williams, 70, was jailed for five years after he admitted a charge of manslaughter by diminished responsibility.

South Wales Argus: Ruth Williams

Ruth Williams

A jury had found him not guilty, after trial, of the more serious charge of murder.

In a letter to Torfaen's public service board - which the council are a member of, seen by the South Wales Argus, Ms Patel said she had "personally reviewed" the case after it had generated "widespread interest".


The home secretary said she was "not satisfied" with the conclusions reached by Torfaen's public service board.

She said the board had not conducted a domestic homicide review (DHR) because "there are no lessons to be learned from this tragic death".

Ms Patel said she did not accept this was the case.

Broadly speaking, a DHR examines the circumstances of people who died by an act of – or by an apparent act of – violence, abuse or neglect by a relative, housemate, or partner.

"You have focused your decision not to conduct a review on the fact that the victim and perpetrator did not have any meaningful contact with local agencies or services, and consequently determined that there were no lessons to be learned," Ms Patel wrote in her letter to the Torfaen board.

The home secretary said the council had misunderstood the purpose of such a review.

A DHR would help the authorities understand if a victim had had difficulties contacting such local services, she said, adding that a review could also reveal whether more should be done to raise local awareness of those support services.

"DHRs offer a rare opportunity to understand the victim's life, learn practical lessons and provide the victim's family with closure – even if the outcome is neutral," Ms Patel wrote.

She added: "You believe Ruth Williams' death to have been a spontaneous event, but I do not accept that there are no lessons to be learned here.

South Wales Argus: Anthony Williams. Picture: Gwent Police

Anthony Williams. Picture: Gwent Police

"A DHR would help to uncover whether there were missed opportunities and support your understanding about how to prevent further tragedies in cases where there do not appear to be any abuse.

"I consider this particularly important given domestic abuse is often a hidden harm with victims suffering in silence, sometimes until it is too late."

Ms Patel has now ordered the council to carry out a DHR and has requested a copy of the final report.

Torfaen MP Nick Thomas-Symonds, who is also Labour's shadow home secretary, has also been made aware of Ms Patel's order.