A wife whose husband stamped on her head while she was recovering from brain surgery has seen him jailed.
Terrified mum of one Helen Carver, 48, endured years of abuse at the hands of violent Graham Carver, 37.
She was too scared to leave him and Carver continued his reign of abuse until the final assault outside a packed Girls Brigade meeting in a church hall attended by the couple’s ten-year-old daughter.
After strangling his wife, he punched her to the floor and started stamping on her head, targeting the exact sport where she’d had life saving brain surgery following a hemorrhage.
Carver, who already had a conviction for battery against his wife was charged with ABH but later pleaded guilty to common assault and possessing a firearm without a license.
He was sentenced to three years and five months and given a restraining order not to contact her for an indefinite period.
Now Helen and her daughter have moved to start a new life and she wants to warn women to stay in abusive relationships.
‘I stayed out of fear because I had a little one and nowhere to go. He always promised it would be the last time. I hoped after the brain hemorrhage he would be less violent but instead he used it as my weak spot. I feel lucky to be alive.’

I winced as the front door slammed shut and Graham lurched drunkenly into the room.
‘Where have you been all day,’ I asked. Suddenly his eyes froze over.
‘Go to your bedroom, love,’ I whispered to Suzy.
Things were about to turn nasty. After all the years I still couldn’t predict the warning signs.


For months he’d be fine, then he’d just snap and all hell would break loose…

Of course, it was a different story when we’d met. Back then, Graham couldn’t do enough for me.

With blonde hair and blue eyes and strong, muscular body, I thought I’d won the jackpot. Ten years younger than me, I’d teasingly call him my toy boy.

He was overcoming depression and told me I’d saved his life and given him something to live for. I couldn’t have been happier either. We planned an idyllic life together in the country.

Two years later I gave birth to our daughter Suzy. Our family complete, we decided to tie the knot in a quiet do two years later.

But just 12 weeks after the wedding I started to see a different side of Graham. Silly little arguments suddenly turned nasty. He started drinking more and staying out later and if I questioned him about it or asked where he’d been, his eyes would flash with annoyance.

‘Stop your nagging!’ he yelled menacingly as I shrunk back in surprise. This wasn’t the Graham I knew and loved.

At first I blamed stress, tiredness, even the return of his depression. But as the years went by, I began to see that this was the real Graham, not the man who I’d said ‘I do’ to.

Once we were having a row and he grabbed me by the throat and pinned me against the wall. He said it was to stop me nagging.

Afterwards, he couldn’t stop saying sorry.
‘It’ll never happen again,’ he promised, stroking my face.

Except as time passed, his violent outbursts became more frequent.
I tried to hide it from Suzy but when she was seven years old, she came in to find him strangling me in the lounge.

‘Go back to your room,’ I tried to gurgle. But she remained rooted to the spot, her blue eyes wide with horror.

The next thing I remember, I came to on the carpet with Suzy sobbing next to me.
‘See,’ Graham sneered to her. ‘I told you she’d wake up.’


I called the police and he was arrested and cautioned.

Of course, I thought about leaving. But I didn’t.

Then that April I collapsed. Graham called and ambulance and I was rushed to hospital. I’d suffered a brain hemorrhage, needed life saving surgery.

After three weeks in hospital I came home in a wheelchair.
Maybe things will be different now, I hoped.


Graham had saved my life by ringing 999, surely he wouldn’t hurt me now….
But just four months later, Graham came home clutching a bottle of vodka.

‘What’s this? ‘I asked, furious he’s been out drinking and hadn’t answered his mobile all day long.

‘A present for you,’ he slurred. But I didn’t drink ever.
Furious, I tipped it down the sink.

He grabbed the empty bottle from me and – whack! – hit me around the head with it. I slumped to the floor in agony.

This time he was charged with battery and received a four-month suspended sentence.
Get out, a little voice in my head pleaded. Take


Suzy and go. But how could I? I was recovering from brain surgery, with a young daughter. And Graham was always threatening that he had a gun in the shed if I really stepped out of line… How could I run away build a new life in that situation?
So instead, I tried to keep on his good side. Maybe if I didn’t rile him, things would be OK?

But it wasn’t that simple. Once Graham had a drink inside him – which was most days – he was a different person. A very angry one.

For three long years I tiptoed around him, just trying to get from one week to the next.
One evening, Suzy was getting ready to go to Girls’ Brigade.

‘I’ll take her,’ Graham said. But I was concerned he’d been to the pub.
‘No I’ll do it,’ I said, grabbing my things. But


Graham didn’t like being told what to do. He was out of the door with Suzy before I’d even got my coat on.

I waited for him to come back. He didn’t.


Probably gone back to the pub, I thought bitterly. So at half-past eight, I went to pick Suzy up.
But as I walked towards the church hall, I saw Graham.

Suddenly, he flew at me. ‘What the Hell are you doing here?’ he yelled.

‘I’ve come to pick Suzy up. You’ve been drinking.’

‘I haven’t, he said, pacing towards the car.
I turned back towards the hall. She should be out in a few minutes…

I closed my eyes, thinking what kind of mood Graham would be in when we got back to the house. At that moment, he grabbed the collar of my coat and pulled it tight around my throat.
As I gasped for air he punched me to the floor and started stamping on my head, targeting the exact sport where I’d had my brain surgery.

‘I wished you’d died when you’d had that hemorrhage!’ he spat as his foot hit my skull.
Suzy was just feet away with all her friends in the hall but that didn’t bother him.

As he fled I lay there for a moment before managing to call the police. Then, scared I would die out here alone, I summoned all my strength and managed to crawl to the Church hall.
‘Oh my God! Has there been a car crash?’ a lady cried, running out.

Suzy looked over. The horror on her face when she realised it was me will stay with me forever.

Police and an ambulance arrived. Suzy listened quietly as I explained what had happened. Then she sat with me in the ambulance as I was taken to King’s Lynn Hospital.

‘You’re being a very brave, girl,’ I wheezed, squeezing her hand. I knew she was worried about me.

While I was in casualty one of the doctors told me that Graham had been brought in. The police had found him at home. He’d tried to take his own life. After finding ammunition and a handgun in the garden shed, he’d been arrested and brought here to be checked over.
I stiffened at the thought of him being nearby.
‘You’re quite safe here,’ the nurse reassured me.

I was discharged from hospital that evening. My brother picked us up and took us back to his house. I couldn’t bear the thought of going home. Graham had been bailed on the condition that he didn’t return to the house but I still felt nervous.

The following week, I finally summoned the courage to return to the house. I still saw Graham around town but stayed out of his way. Suzy didn’t want to have anything to do with him.
‘Dad’s gone too far,’ she said.

My heart ached for her. Why couldn’t she have the dad she deserved?

We had to wait until this January for the case to come to Norwich Crown Court.
I sat in the court room as Graham admitted common assault and possessing a firearm without a licence. He didn’t meet my eyes once.

I sighed with relief as he was jailed for three years and five months and given a restraining order not to contact me.

Now, four weeks on, for the first time in my life I finally feel free. Suzy and I have moved away to start a new life and I’ll never let myself be treated like that again.

Looking back, I stayed so long because I was afraid. I had a little one and nowhere to go. Then, after my brain hemorrhage I was even more vulnerable. Like all abusers Graham always promised it would be the last time but it never was. I’m just so glad I survived… I so very nearly didn’t.