Shelley Rees quits Rhondda Cynon Taf council over threats

Shelley Rees
Shelley Rees also hosts a Radio Cymru show [BBC]

An actress has described how threats made against her family forced her to quit her job as a councillor.

Shelley Rees, who has appeared in Emmerdale, Casualty, Keeping Faith and Pobol y Cwm, was elected in 2012 to represent the Pentre Ward in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

She was re-elected with an increased majority in 2017.

But she did not stand at the last local elections following threats by a resident that frightened her family.

"I always knew that if something like this ever happened which led to either me or my family not feeling safe, I'd have to give it up, but I never thought it would happen in my own village," she said.

"When someone threatens the safety of you and your family and you have to put a stop to it.... I was sad about it, to be honest."

Speaking to BBC Radio Cymru's Beti a'i Phobol, she explained how a man went to her parents' house while she was at work, which made her quit ahead of the 2022 council elections.

"This man knocked on the door - I knew who he was, but I hardly knew him - but for some reason he'd decided to go to mam and dad's house and threaten me. I was so upset."

Pobl y Cwm
Shelley played Stacey Jones in Pobl y Cwm [BBC]

Ms Rees still lives in Ton Pentre, but still does not know what the reason was for the threats.

Threats to politicians, especially woman, has been an issue in recent years with concerns about an increase in sexist, misogynistic insults and attacks online.

"As a councillor you're on the frontline - you've got no staff, no office, you're out there - and that's the point of being a councillor," said Ms Rees.

"I knew that but I never expected that to happen to me.

"There was a time when [her daughter] Lowri was worried about leaving the house. I was checking to see if this man was around, because he was local.

"The police had told him to keep away, but I was thinking about how my family had supported everything I've ever done.

"[My husband] Jon especially... but when Jon says no to something I know he wants me to think carefully about this."