A woman has bravely spoken of the violence she suffered throughout lockdown at the hands of an abusive boyfriend who tormented her with violent, cruel attacks.
Seren, 31, was beaten, strangled, spat on and threated with a machete knife by her crazed now ex-partner Paul Robert Morgan Richards-Keegan.
She said her relationship with the 24-year-old started in July 2018 and was “amazing” in the first five or six months.
But from that point onwards, she fell victim to Richards-Keegan who imparted a “serious pattern of violence” on her, which escalated through the lockdown period of the pandemic.
Seren, originally from Cardiff, said she felt under his control and unable to leave the relationship – every time she tried, Richards-Keegan threatened her until she agreed to stay.
On one occasion, neighbours described Richards-Keegan’s actions towards Seren as looking like something out of a “horror movie” as blood dripped from her mouth while her clothes were ripped.
She has bravely decided to tell the full story of her horrific treatment to make sure no other woman suffers at the hands of her ex-partner – and that it will also help others going through the same situation to seek help.
In January, Seren started taking pictures of the injuries Richards-Keegan inflicted on her, to build evidence against him.
She said: “I was living in fear day and night and every time I tried to leave he would threaten me. I took photos and videos as he used to tell me all the time that he would kill me and put my body up the lakes.
“I will never ever trust a man again.”
Richards-Keegan stood in front of Swansea Crown Court on December 22.
Hanna George, prosecuting, read out details of Richards-Keegan’s actions towards Seren.
She said: “The offences arose out of the relationship he had with his ex-partner. They were in a relationship for approximately two years.
“It initially started well but after five months, the relationship deteriorated into a violent one. The defendant was controlling throughout the relationship and he isolated her from her family and friends. She felt trapped.
“A pattern of serious violence against her which escalated through the lockdown period of the pandemic.”
On March 30, Richards-Keegan “pulled clumps” out of Seren’s hair, hit her over her head and spat in her face.
Seren tried to contact the police, but her partner warned her “not to say anything”.
When Seren asked why he had done that to her, Ms George said Richards-Keegan replied saying “it’s what he did”, that he “did not love her and did not care”.
On May 30, after a disagreement about the selling of the defendant’s motorbike, Richards-Keegan “grabbed [Seren’s] face and pushed her against a wall”.
He beat her to the point that her “mouth was full of blood”.
Then on June 19, he again assaulted Seren in bed.
“He hit her so hard a left hand print could be found on her lower back,” prosecuting counsel Ms George said.
A month later, Richards-Keegan then strangled Seren as she tried to run out of the house to get help – suffering visible marks on her neck.
Worse was to come.
In August, Seren was then threatened with a machete at 1am when she told Richards-Keegan the relationship was over. As he brandished the deadly blade, she was told to shut up and sit in the dark in case the police turned up.
Ms George said Richards-Keegan told Seren that if she screamed, the machete would “go through” her.
He then lashed out, beating Seren so savagely her lungs began to hurt. When she begged for mercy, she was told “who gives a f***? You are lucky to still be alive”.
On August 22 Seren again mustered the courage to try and leave Richards-Keegan.
She said she packed her bags and did not pick him up from work as she usually would.
Ms George told the court: “[Seren] did not pick him up from work and she locked the front door. He turned up at the address and he demanded she let him in.
“He told her if she let him enter he would not become violent. With that reassurance, she let him enter her house.
“When he entered, he lost his temper and she ran upstairs to the bathroom to lock herself in. He got in, grabbed her by the throat and said he would kill her. After a period of time he let go and told her to catch her breath, then he did it again.
“She thought the defendant was going to kill her. He let go and she ran to the bedroom.
“The defendant strangled her and hit her over the face, she ran out of the house he chased her and he pushed her against the fence outside and repeatedly punched her and her top became torn.”
Ms George said neighbours became aware of the noise and looked outside to see what was going on.
She said they described it as looking like a scene from a horror movie, adding: “She was covered in blood, her clothes were ripped and she was bleeding from her mouth.”
Neighbours called the police.
“When police attended, she was so fearful that she did not fully disclose what had happened,” Ms George added.
After being taken to Bronglais Hospital, Seren – whose weight plummeted to just six stone because of the stress – broke down to doctors as she detailed the horrific physical and mental abuse she had suffered before building up the courage to go to the police.
Richards-Keegan was arrested and questioned by police.
However after being taken to Aberystwyth Police Station, and despite the seriousness of the situation, he took it upon himself to call members of Seren’s family to try put pressure on her to drop the case against him.
By the time the case got to court though, the game was up for Richards-Keegan.
His barrister David Singh said his client admitted subjecting his ex-partner to a series of “appalling acts”.
He said that for the counts he pleaded guilty for he did so at an early stage and that Richards-Keegan had not been charged for violence against a romantic partner previously.
His Honour judge Huw Rees said Richards-Keegan poses a high risk of harm to women he is in an intimate relationship with.
He said: “[These are] serious offences against a young and vulnerable woman who has been left scared. You demeaned her as a woman and you, unbeknown to you at the time, demeaned yourself.”
Richards-Keegan had previously pleaded guilty to four counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, common assault, criminal damage, attempting to pervert the course of justice – the phone call he made from the police station urging family members to contact the victim – and making threats to kill when he appeared in the dock for sentencing.
He was sentenced to a total of four years in prison, he will serve up to half that period in custody before being released on licence to serve the remainder in the community.
Richards-Keegan, of Pwllclai, Capel Bangor, Aberystwyth, was also given a 10-year restraining order, preventing him from contacting Seren.
Seren, who did not want to give her surname, said she was relieved that her abusive ex was now behind bars – so that no other women could suffer the same fate as her.
However, while justice has been served, Seren said her ordeal is far from over – saying she will find it impossible to ever trust another man and the mental scars of what she went through will take a long time to heal.