Rhianon Bragg discusses being held hostage at gunpoint by ex-partner
Gareth Wyn Jones, 57, stormed Rhianon Bragg’s rural farmhouse with the shotgun and repeatedly threatened to kill her and leave her four children motherless. Ms Bragg had ended their five-year relationship but Jones refused to accept it was over.
And photos, taken on CCTV and shown in court, show Jones come face to face with the scared mum. The thug points the gun towards his victim’s chest in a chilling confrontation, reports North Wales Live.
But after several hours, Jones decided to leave the barn where he was holding her hostage and forced Ms Bragg to drive to his home in nearby Caernarfon, north Wales.
The following morning, Ms Bragg managed to persuade Jones to allow her to go to a doctor’s appointment.
Finally, alone in the GP’s room, Ms Bragg was able to tell someone what was happening and the police were called, the surgery was locked down and Jones was arrested in the car park.
He has since been jailed for four and a half years after admitting charges of stalking, false imprisonment and making a threat to kill, as well as a shotgun charge.
CCTV footage captures the moment Rhianon Bragg was ambushed and held hostage at gunpoint by Gareth W
The look in his eyes was furious. I asked him to put the gun down and he said no. It was just totally surreal. As part of the trauma, I see it as an of out of body experience
Speaking today, mum-of-four Ms Bragg said Jones’ reign of terror lasted five months after she ended the relationship in April 2019. He also stalked her, sent her messages and would turn up at her home to try and speak with her.
Recalling the August 2019 ambush, Ms Bragg said: “He suddenly jumped out and bang, right in front of me, in his camouflage trousers and jacket and his black leather shooting gloves, he had the barrel of the gun in my chest.
“It was a gun I recognised because I’d used it myself in the past to shoot clay pigeons. It took three cartridges, it was a semi-automatic with a very, very fine trigger.
“I screamed in shock, and I remember him laughing.
“The look in his eyes was furious. I asked him to put the gun down and he said no.
“It was just totally surreal. As part of the trauma, I see it as an of out of body experience.
“I knew straight away there was nothing I could do, I was completely out of control.”
Rhianon Bragg was coercively controlled and abused by her former partner Gareth Wyn Jones
Caernarfon Crown Court heard Jones, a former council worker, had “scared his victim witless”. Ms Bragg has suffered severe anxiety since the ordeal.
She added: “He’s bigger and stronger than me, and I knew I couldn’t outrun what comes out the barrel of a gun.
“One minute he was threatening to kill me, other times he said he was going to kill me before killing himself.
“I was constantly thinking what I would have to do and say to just get through the next minute.
“He was very Jekyll and Hyde, but I’d learnt to modify my behaviour – you don’t ever want to get the wrong answer, which is impossible at times.”
During the car journey to Jones’ address, the man told Ms Bragg he loved her.
Ms Bragg said: “As I was getting in the car, he turned around and told me in Welsh that he loved me.
“I said something like I didn’t know what love was anymore, and that was it, his face changed and I thought, I’ve got to do something – so I stepped forward and put my arms around him.
“I didn’t want to hug him, I was doing it because I had to do something otherwise I’d have been in a lot of trouble.”
Ms Bragg was held a gunpoint by her former partner
When he was sentenced last year, Jones was also made the subject of a 10-year restraining order, preventing him from contacting Ms Bragg or going within 800 metres of her home.
The shotguns and other firearms seized at his home were also ordered to be forfeited and destroyed.
But Ms Bragg fears that is not enough to keep her and her family safe following his release.
She continued: “How can anybody compute after that sort of behaviour that everything was okay.
“That itself is an incredibly dangerous aspect of his makeup that a restraining order will do nothing about.
“I’m living with a countdown and in fear of his release because he is an incredibly dangerous character.
“If he’s allowed back into the village, I think it will show there is a complete lack of understanding on the effects of stalking and the victims needs.
“Rhosgadfan is very rural, 800 metres basically takes us to the outskirts of the village.
“He will be able to be in places where he was stalking me before. He will be in buildings where he was watching in my house with a clear view across the mountains.
“It’s so wrong, I feel as though I’m on a timer until he gets out.
“As a victim, I feel the onus is on you while the perpetrator is protected.”
The mum has spoken to try to help other victims
But despite her fears, Ms Bragg refuses to move from her home, a place she says she “belongs”.
“It’s not just my home, it’s my children’s home and my father is buried in the fields here,” she said.
“When he comes out, I am massively at risk.
“The police told me several times, ‘you’re so lucky to be alive’.
“In my mind, unless he is physically kept away from me, my children and whoever his next victim might be, it’s not safe.
“The most I can hope for is that the licence conditions which will be discussed nearer to parole will be strengthened so he can’t come back to the village, but I’m terrified they won’t be.
“You go into this believing in justice and that the law will protect you, and actually one of the things I have learnt is that there is a massive difference between justice and the law.
“I fear next time it could be one of my children – or his next victim.
“Victims are treated appallingly.”
As well as the physical abuse, Ms Bragg also spoke about the coercive abuse she experienced.
“I have a holiday let in the village that I bought in 2017,” Ms Bragg said.
“A neighbour there was walking past a couple of months ago and he said Gareth had told them I’d had an accident, a knock on the head, that meant I was mentally incapacitated in some way.
“What was the point of that? It’s not just the case that he’s made up a weird lie, what he was doing was very much coercive control.”
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “Offenders released on licence are closely monitored and can be returned to prison if they breach strict conditions on where they can travel and who they can contact.”