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Read Jills harrowing story below:
Hubby gave me Chelsea smile
I threw my car keys down on the side and pressed play on my answering machine.
A familiar gruff voice filled the room. ‘Jill? It’s me. I’m taking you out for dinner. I’ve booked us a table for tomorrow night.’
Exhaling angrily, I shook my head and pressed ‘delete’…just like I did every time he called, or texted.
When was he going to get the message? We were through – for good.
I’d met Roger when I was just 18. He was 12 years older than me and I was young and impressionable. We saw each other a few times but then I found out he was married and I ended it. I was no home wrecker.
Only, five years later, out-of-the-blue, he called to say that he’d left his wife. We started going out and two years later, I moved in with him ‘When are you going to let me make an honest woman of you?’ he badgered.
But I didn’t want to get married. I loved Roger but I was happy the way things were.
Only the following February, Roger pulled something out of his coat pocket – a gold ring.
‘It’s all arranged,’ he told me. ‘I’ve booked the registry office for Valentine’s Day.’
Four days’ time? I wasn’t completely happy but felt under pressure.
What’s the problem? I kept telling myself. You love him, don’t you? He treats you well…
So I went along with it.
‘You’re mine now,’ he said as friends showered us in confetti. And there was something in his voice that made my heart flutter – and not in a good way.
I should have trusted my instincts. Just three months later, I began to see a different side of Roger.
One night, late home from the pub, he dragged me out of bed and down the stairs to cook a fry-up for himself and his drinking buddies.
He started drinking more and more, spending every night down the pub while I waited nervously for the sound of his key in the lock. Every time he got drunk, I’d get a beating
Maybe I should have got out but by then I was pregnant with Rebecca.
‘Maybe being a dad will soften him,’ I convinced myself.
It didn’t. He was more interested in his next beer than his baby. And the beatings continued.
I tried to protect Rebecca but I saw the fear in her eyes as she looked at my bruises, noticed how she flinched when her Dad came in the room.
‘I’ve got to give it a go for the kids’ sake,’ I told my sister as she begged me to leave him. We had a son, Matthew, now too.
Over the years I walked out several times but he tracked always me down, promise me he’d change. Of course, he never did.
But outside of our four walls, Roger was a pillar of the community. Just a few weeks ago he’d accepted two awards on behalf of the community group where for which he sat as board member.
I finally found the strength to leave for good in 2004 when Rebecca was 19 and Matthew, 12.
Only, I’d been too scared to ask for a divorce and living in the same small village meant I’d never really been free of him.
I’d changed my home and mobile numbers numerous times but still he kept pestering me.
It didn’t know what it would take for him to get the message.
‘I don’t want to live without you,’ he’d told me when he’d called me a few weeks earlier. ‘And when I go, I’m going to go with a bang.’
If only he’d bloody hurry up, I thought to myself as I switched off the light and went upstairs to bed.
The next morning I dropped Matthew off at work at half-past seven, and then drove back home to look after my six-year-old niece, Carly. I often looked after her in the school holidays.
Unlocking the back door, I ushered Carly into the house.
‘Let me just put on a wash then we can have some breakfast,’ I told her.
Bent over the washing machine, I shoved the dirty clothes into the drum.
Suddenly, I heard a loud smash. I thought something had fallen. Until I felt a searing pain flood through my head.
Reeling, I tried to turn round. But – crack! There it was again.
Blood pouring from my eyes, I lifted myself up and staggered around.
Roger stood there brandishing a hammer. What the…?
Shutting Carly in the kitchen, he dragged me into the lounge. Towering over me as I lay bleeding on the floor he took a Stanley knife from his pocket and started frenziedly slashing at my body.
‘Stop, please,’ I begged.
But with each slash he told me what my ‘punishment ‘ was for.
‘This is for turning the kids against me,’ he spat as he tore at my arms.
‘And this,’ he yelled angrily, ‘is for stopping me from seeing my grandchildren.’
None of it was true. Rebecca and Matthew had both reached their own conclusions about him years ago. He made out he loved them but the only thing he loved was the bottle.
I drifted in and out of consciousness as he kept slicing at my stomach, breasts, buttocks and then finally, slit my throat.
Then in a final evil act, he took the knife and cut my face open from ear to mouth on both sides, leaving my face flapping open in a horrendous Chelsea smile.
‘I’m not stopping until you’re in f***ing Hell!’ he yelled, brimming with fury.
I knew he meant it. So I did the only thing I could – held my breath and lay still so he would think I was dead.
Please go, I begged silently.
After what seemed like an eternity, Roger finally stood back on the blood-sodden carpet and laughed as he looked at what he thought was my dead body.
Then he fled.
I tried to get up but it was impossible. My stomach was gaping open and my foot was hanging off. Somehow, I dragged myself into kitchen to call 999
‘You’ve got help me. I’m bleeding to death,’ I rasped.
I’d barely put down the phone when my father and sister-in-law rushed in.
Their mouths hanging open in shock, they smothered me in towels to try and stem the bleeding.
‘How did you..?’ I began.
Turns out Carly had run home to tell her mum Roger had a knife and was hurting Auntie Jill. My sister-in-law had called an ambulance then my Dad before rushing round.
Within minutes the paramedics and police arrived.
‘Do you mind if we take photos?’ an officer asked, clicking away at my injuries.
‘You can do what you like cause I’m going to die,’ I mumbled back.
As they lifted me into the ambulance, the paramedics looked worried.
Dad was warned I might not even make the journey to Royal Glamorgan Hospital 12 miles up the road.
I was in surgery for ten hours and needed 1000 stitches and staples.
‘How would he do this to you, Mum?’ Rebecca wept.
My injuries were so severe she and Matthew had been told I wouldn’t last the night.
Turns out Roger walked into Pentre police station that same morning and said he was wanted for murder having killed his wife.
But he was wrong. I was still here.
He was remanded in custody charged with attempted murder, shocked I wasn’t dead.
My family kept vigil but I was on a ventilator. Things didn’t look good.
And three days after the attack, the children were told they’d lost a parent…
But it was their dad, not me. Roger had committed suicide in his police cell.
‘Never!’ I croaked.
But it was true. Just 24 hours after his appearance before Pontypridd magistrates on a charge of attempted murder, he’d been found hanged in his cell at Cardiff Prison. Staff and paramedics attempted to resuscitate him, but he was pronounced dead.
His murderous plan had failed so he’d taken his own life in his police cell instead. Coward.
Roger’s horrific plot to kill me had backfired and far from ending my life, he’d finally freed me by taking his own. Yes, I would have preferred to see him rot in a cell for what he did to me but at least he can’t hurt me anymore.
I was still in hospital when Roger was buried. Rebecca went to the service but Matthew stayed in the hospital with me. I didn’t blame Rebecca for going. No matter what Roger had done, at the end of the day, he was still her dad.
Finally, after four months in hospital, I was allowed home in a wheelchair.
I couldn’t bear to look at myself in the mirror and worried that my grandchildren, Jack, four, and Jemima, three, would be too scared to look at me.
But they never said a word. To them, I was still Nan.
I couldn’t bring myself to look at my face until November. And when I finally plucked up the courage, tears rolled down my face. Every cut, every slice, was there for everyone to see. I even had to dye my blonde hair black to hide the holes the hammer left in my scalp. I’m still in and out of hospital needing surgery and I’ll never be able to walk without a crutch ever again
At first it hurt when people would stop and stare at my scars but in time, and with counselling, I’ve come to see them as a sign of everything I’ve been through – and survived. I hope they now serve as a warning to all other women to leave abusive relationships.
I kept quiet for all those years and it very nearly killed me. I want other women to read my story and get out now…before it’s too late.