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Blaenangwent Crime South Wales

Burglar assaulted ex after release from prison

Credit - Gwent Police

A BURGLAR who broke into a Greggs bakery, punched and strangled his ex-girlfriend days after being released from prison. 

Gary Matthews, 35, burgled a Greggs in Tredegar overnight on September 29 and 30. He stole £50 from charity boxes and was caught escaping from the bakery on CCTV. 

Cardiff Crown Court heard that Matthews had been in a relationship with a woman for two years but the relationship ended in July 2021. 

After being released from prison, the defendant tracked down his former partner after she changed addresses to avoid him. 

On April 22, 2022, Matthews saw the victim in Ebbw Vale town centre. He claimed he knew where she lived and hounded her into letting him accompany her. 

By the early hours of April 24, the pair were at the victim’s flat and were drinking heavily. Matthews then committed what prosecutor, Steven Donoghue, described as a “sustained assault”. 

The barrister said: “The defendant at some point became annoyed and was strangling the complainant with his arm around her neck. He was pinning her against the wall trying to smother her mouth and bit her neck. He said: ‘I’ll put you in a box and cover it in water’.”

Matthews’ brother arrived at the flat, but quickly left as the defendant continued to assault his former partner. 

The victim was hit by Matthews so hard, she fell back and hit her head on a coffee table. 

Mr Donoghue continued: “She lay on the floor with blood on her face and the defendant said: ‘I’m going to go down for five years for this.’

“As she got up the defendant was sat on the sofa. He came towards her and punched her in the face again. She fell backwards to the floor and the defendant got on top of her and was choking her. The complainant was screaming for help but the defendant smothered her again by covering her mouth.”

The victim eventually managed to escape into the street and knock on a neighbour’s door, who brought her in and contacted the police.

After the victim was taken to the hospital, Matthews returned to the flat, busting a window and falling asleep on the sofa. At 9.30 a.m., police arrived at the flat and arrested the defendant.

He told police: “She fell, the stupid c***” and denied assaulting her. The victim was treated for two wound to her head which required stitches

Matthews, of Park Hotel, Station Road, Ebbw Vale, pleaded guilty to assault, resulting in actual bodily injury, burglary, and criminal damage. He has past convictions for domestic abuse, the court heard.

In mitigation, Jeffrey Jones, claimed his client had been a heroin user but had not touched the drug for two years. He also said the defendant had been drinking alcohol at the time of the assault.

Judge Tracey Lloyd-Clarke sentenced Matthews to a total of two years and seven months in prison. He was also made subject to a restraining order.