A HEARTBROKEN fiancée has spoken of her devastation after her neighbour broke into her house and stole the engagement and wedding ring given to her by her late boyfriend.

Bethany Priest, 24, was targeted by her gardener Shane Harries, who trashed her Pontypool home and tipped over the urn containing the ashes of her partner.

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Miss Priest and her fiancé, who was from Griffithstown, Pontypool, were due to be married in 2016, but he died from bone cancer a couple of weeks before their wedding day.

After raiding her home and stealing clothes, food and jewellery worth £2,000, he then threatened her when she attended Newport Magistrates’ Court for the defendant’s first hearing.Free Press Series:

Bethany Priest pictured outside Cardiff Crown Court this morning. Picture: Iwan Gabe Davies/South Wales Argus


At Cardiff Crown Court, Harries, 28, of Grove Crescent, Trevethin, Pontypool, was jailed after he admitted burglary and witness intimidation.

The first offence was committed on June 3, 2019 and the latter on February 28.

Outside the court, young mum Miss Priest said: “Harries came around and asked me if I wanted to have my lawn cut.

“I said yes. He had cut my lawn before and I had trusted him. I didn’t expect him to break into my family home.

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Shane Harries. Picture: Gwent Police

“I told him I was going out for the afternoon and left the side door open.

“He stole the engagement ring that my fiancé gave to me and our wedding rings. These are the items of the highest sentimental value.

“I am still grieving for him. He passed away from bone cancer in 2016 just a couple of weeks before our wedding.

“The rings would mean nothing to Harries but they mean the world to me.

“They have never been recovered and I will never see them again.

“By tipping over the urn with his ashes in, he showed no respect.”

Miss Priest added: “When I came home, the grass had been half cut. My TV had been removed from the wall and smashed on the floor.

“There was strimmer on the floor and the smell of petrol in almost every room. There was also blood everywhere.

“My young daughter and I had to go and live with my mum for eight weeks and I was too afraid to go home.

“We have now left the area because we no longer felt safe there.”

Speaking about the witness intimidation offence, Miss Priest said: “At Newport Magistrates’ Court, he saw me and my friend, who was pregnant at the time, and he told us, ‘I’m going to smash your faces in.’ “I was left feeling very scared and this has been hanging over me for 18 months.

“I am just glad it’s over now and he was sent to jail. I have felt like a prisoner in my own home for the last year and a half because he was out and about and allowed to enjoy his life.

“Now it’s his turn to feel what it’s like to be locked up.”

Emma Harris, prosecuting, told the court how Harries had a previous conviction for burglary from 2016.

Ieuan Bennett, mitigating, said: “Although the defendant’s guilty pleas came late in the day, he did at least spare his victim from having to give live evidence.”

He added that his client had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and suffered from drink and drugs problems.

The judge, Recorder Sean Bradley, told Harries: “The victim has clearly suffered long-term effects from what you did and has difficulty with anxiety and sleeping.

“You ransacked her home, stole sentimental jewellery and the ashes containing her deceased partner’s ashes were knocked over.”

He jailed the defendant for 18 months.