One of the worst domestic violence abusers in history has failed in a bid to gag the press reporting details of the moves taken to protect his victim.
Craig Thomas – seen here in a new picture for the first time in a decade – must not set foot within Cardiff City or any of its suburbs, an area spanning 80 square miles – something he wanted to keep secret.
Thomas, 43, was released from Parc Prison in June after serving the full ten years of his sentence for subjecting his girlfriend Charlotte Rooks to a horrific campaign of abuse.
This saw Thomas beating her with hammers, stabbing her in the back, making her sleep naked standing up, and even forcing her to eat photographs and jewellery of dead loved ones as a bizarre punishment.
Now MailOnline can reveal that the authorities are so concerned he may try to find Ms Rooks again that they have imposed the order barring him from entering the city where she lives and where he has many friends.
Craig Thomas – seen here in a new photo for the first time in over a decade – has failed in a bid to stop the MailOnline from reporting on moves to protect his former partner. We can reveal that he has been ordered not to enter the Cardiff City area or its suburbs, an area spanning 80 square miles, in order to keep her safe
Charlotte Rooks was beaten with hammers and stabbed in the back by Thomas. He also made her sleep naked standing up, and forced her to eat photographs of dead loved ones
Ms Rooks – seen here during happier times – has urged others with abusive ex-partners due for release from prison to seek similar protective measures via the courts or probation services
Thomas took legal steps to try to stop MailOnline from making this public but his move has been rejected by a judge.
It has not been possible until today to legally report these restrictions imposed on Thomas as they were subject to Family Court rules.
But following an application by MailOnline HHJ Furness KC, Sitting in Cardiff Civil and Family Justice Court earlier this week said: ‘There’s a public interest in the public knowing that although there may be no automatic protection on the release of prisoners after completing their sentence, that is protection for victims, the family courts will in appropriate cases, be able and willing to provide such protection by making an injunctive order in the terms that is sought in this case.’
The judge added: ‘The rights of the press should prevail,’
Thomas had objected to the lifting of the reporting restrictions saying that “It doesn’t assist Miss Rooks in rebuilding her life.” Charlotte told the court that “he has failed to comprehend what he has done to me” or “grasp the magnitude of his offending”
Thanking the Judge, Charlotte said she would ‘urge anyone facing the release of a violent ex-partner to ask probation or the court to impose similar restrictions.’ She went on: ‘Faced with moving home again or possibly returning to a refuge, neither option seemed appropriate, so I decided to set a precedent and hopefully help others in my situation.
‘During the last ten years, I have had no choice but to educate myself on the criminal justice system, procedures, charging and offender management. But, I believe there needs to be additional support for victims through compulsory extended licence conditions for violent and sex offenders – even if they have served every day of their time.
‘A violent offender’s freedom shouldn’t trump my right to life.’
Charlotte added: ‘When I found out he was being released I made a close friend promise to look after my son and care for my dogs if Thomas kills me.”
‘There is a lifetime criminal restraining order forbidding Thomas from direct or indirect contact. But I do not believe that goes far enough to protect my family or me.
So I applied to the civil court, and to my huge relief, the order was granted.’
‘Thomas was served with the court order at his mother’s house. It was only then that it truly hit me that he was out. It also dawned on me that he was immediately in breach of the court order”
“Even though the order was in place – I wasn’t legally allowed to tell anyone. I am immensely grateful for the support of the media in helping to keep me safe”
‘When I attended Thomas’ parole hearing in Parc Prison, he was considered too dangerous to be in the room with me. I don’t believe it is possible to rehabilitate someone like him.’
Turning to the what he did, Charlotte said: ‘In 2013, I was relieved that Thomas had, amongst other things, pleaded guilty to some of the hideous crimes he had carried out over three months, including trying to kill my unborn child.’
After Charlotte told Thomas she was pregnant, he tried to deliberately abort the pregnancy by repeatedly striking her in the stomach with a metal pipe, stamping on her and telling her that he would ‘beat the baby out’.
First released in 2018, Thomas was back behind bars within months for breaching his license conditions and a source close to the case told Charlotte that he has ‘refused to engage with probation and refused to take the accommodation offered to him upon his release, instead choosing to live with his mother. Now he is banned from living there.’
Charlotte Rooks, pictured showing some of the injuries inflicted on her by Craig Thomas. She had feared that he would seek to track her down upon his release from prison
Craig Thomas’ police mugshot. A judge said that his campaign of terror against Charlotte Rooks was the ‘worst domestic abuse’ they had ever seen
Following a number of police failings, Thomas was eventually arrested and stood trial. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison at Cardiff Crown Court (pictured)
Ten years ago, South Wales Police wanted Craig Thomas charged with attempted murder but instead, the Crown Prosecution Service decided Thomas should face a series of lesser violent offences.
Charlotte said: ‘It is this charging decision that may still cost me my life.
‘If Thomas had been charged with attempted murder and had not been allowed to “disappear” the rape and false imprisonment charges, to lie on file, as part of his guilty plea, I believe he would most likely still be behind bars for many years to come.
‘I don’t recall ever being consulted about the decision to dispose of the rape and false imprisonment charges that now “lie on file”, and it has left me struggling to get on with my life.’
By speaking out, Charlotte wants to highlight the long-term implications of such a plea and how sentencing guidelines leave her and other victims at the mercy of their perpetrators once they are released, having served their entire sentences.
Since Thomas was jailed, there have been some changes to how prisoners on a determinant sentence are released, but the changes are irrelevant to Thomas and come too late for victims like Charlotte.
Once Charlotte finally escaped Thomas, South Wales Police realised who Charlotte’s attacker was, and they scrambled an armed response unit to collect her son, 13, from school.
When the Police finally picked up Thomas, he was armed and making his way there.
Charlotte says, ‘It haunts me daily that Thomas also hurt my beautiful boy and that he had to see me in a hospital bruised and battered because he feared I was dead. There isn’t a day I’m not sorry about this, he is my one true love, and I am so proud of everything he has achieved so far.
‘Thomas also hung my beautiful dog ‘Baby’ out the window by her throat, threatening to drop her on the concrete below. From then on, he locked me in his flat, which had multiple deadlocks, and sometimes he would pass the keys out to another male through the letterbox, chillingly telling that person that I wouldn’t die”’
Charlotte says that she was raped more than 100 times over some months, saying: ‘’If I didn’t do as I was told, Thomas would torture me.’
A call log from the attending officer shows the Police officers “laughing” and calling Charlotte a “lucky girl” at the time she was being raped and tortured, the Police wrongly believing that she was engaged in sexual activity with serial abuser Thomas.
Only on a third occasion, when officers arrived at the flat on an unrelated motoring offence, Charlotte could escape via an open door as officers chatted to Thomas.
‘The police were laughing at me as I was subjected to the most inhumane and degrading treatment,’ she recalled.
A standard check of the police database would have shown multiple markers for domestic violence, firearms offences, drug dealing and a history of offending whilst on bail – which he was at the time.’
‘I became pregnant through rape, and because Thomas had locked me in, It was too late to have a termination via the NHS; instead, a relative and a friend drove me to a private clinic. I was certain that everything that had been done to me would have caused long-term damage to the unborn child.’
Ten years ago, Thomas admitted grievous bodily harm, having repeatedly hit Charlotte on the head with a hammer and stabbing her multiple times in the back with a knife.
Charlotte said: ‘It is inconceivable that he had anything other than my murder in his mind. He would torture me for days on end, telling me he would kill me, and if I moved or made a sound, he would start his ritualistic abuse all over again, placing me in a Crucifixion pose to beat and rape me.
‘He would place my arms under a sofa to stop me from moving; at one point, he asked me how I wanted to die, offering me a choice of drinking bleach or placing a bag over my head. I remember weighing up my options and thinking the bleach would be painful and, simultaneously, thinking you can’t kill me.’
‘Thomas took me by force, not once, but twice, once from the hospital after I escaped the first time, and a second time from a relative’s home. He threatened to kill my Mother and my son and even to rape and kill my dying Grandmother, who was upstairs in the hospital while I was receiving treatment for injuries inflicted by Thomas.
‘From day one, it has felt like Thomas had some protector.’
Charlotte says, ‘When I met Thomas, I had no idea of his history of offending; in fact, it wasn’t until a second investigation that I had any insight into Thomas’s history of offending, including 25 offences and 15 court appearances.’
Charlotte believes Thomas is ‘more than capable of murder’
She said: ‘He nearly killed me at the time; my injuries are life-changing. I have a bulging blood vessel in my brain. Even now, that could rupture and kill me. It has taken me ten years to get to the point I am at now. I am working in a role where I am using my lived experience to help others, and I hope to create a charity looking after the pets of women fleeing domestic violence.
‘Despite everything I have said, I am placing my faith in the Police and the public to protect me from Thomas, and I am grateful for my recent contact with the officers currently serving with South Wales Police.’