Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Love The Way You Lie

So Tony has been charged and is to be remanded in custody until he appears before the magistrate on the Tuesday morning. This is a court that is set aside to deal specifically with domestic abuse cases.

The knowledge that Tony is in custody does give a little bit of comfort, I feel a little bit safer though I surprise myself at just how jumpy I am. How the smallest of noises or move of hand has me diving for cover.

When Tuesday morning arrives I’ve managed to drag myself up and out of bed and get dressed, which is harder a couple of days after than it was on the morning following the assault. I’m suddenly overwhelmed by the desire to attend court. I'm not needed and I’m hardly going to give moral support but I needed to go, I needed to see Tony face to face I needed to put his face, his demeanor into some kind of perspective. I could barely walk let alone drive, but I got to the nearest court. I was then told that it was in fact being heard in the next town. I had to get there before I lost my bottle.

I arrived at court, quickly phoned my mum to let her know where I was and what I was doing, both her and my dad offered insisted that they would come and support me. No, this I had to do alone.

I introduced myself to the CPS lawyer who had recognised my from the photographs she had on file. This was apparently one of the worst assaults she had ever dealt with. This isn’t to be the last time that I’m told that. We had a chat, she explained what it was that they were hoping for i.e. Tony to remain in custody; apparently he had refused any kind of representation. The arrogance - he clearly assumed he could do a better job that any lawyer.

I’m sat in court with a layperson who is there on behalf of the police, she was incredible that day, tissues at the ready, a steady hand just at the right moment.

I heard the clerk tell the magistrates which case was on next, it was mine, I heard his name, then I saw the door open at the back of the dock and in he strolled, all swagger. He sat shaking his head as the CPS read through some of my statement he even mouthed the word liar at me across the courtroom.

I shook, I had sweaty palms, my heart was racing, I couldn’t swallow, I couldn’t hear a great deal above my own heartbeat ringing in my ears, BUT I never showed anything, not for a second, I sat as composed as I could, as hard faced and cold as possible until he left the court room then I collapsed. The police were amazing that day, their representative walked me to my to my car, having first took me for a coffee.

Despite the further physical torture I put myself through that day and every single day subsequent to that that he appeared in court I had no choice. It was the only way that I could pretend to him that I was no longer scared. If I could convince him that I wasn’t then maybe just maybe it would one day become true.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Lady Sings The Blues

I took no pleasure strangely from knowing that Tony was in custody. I felt fractionally safer obviously but that was it. I'm sure prison isn't a particularly nice place, but it certainly isn't like the reality that suddenly began to unfold for me.

Amongst hospital visits and hanging around the police station on that Sunday I had to see my children. The strangest thing about the whole situation was that my then barely three year old asked straight away on seeing my bruises if her Dad had done it. Both my children wanted to care for me, to make me better and wanted to know why, how Daddy could do this to Mummy when he had told them that he loved Mummy. There simply are no explanations.

It took in total 3 hours just to give my statment and for the police to take the required photographs. By the time we eventually arrived back at my brothers it was gone 10 o'clock at night a whole twelve plus hours gone never to be recovered and all because of Tony.

I didn't want to but I wasn't allowed to go home, couldn't be left alone. I had to be woken every 3 - 4 hours to make sure there was no lasting damage! Clearly they are just referring to the physical effects.

The following day I thought I would take it easy, maybe have a bath try and soak away some of the aches and pains. Hopefully my Dad would come and get me so I could spend some time with my children. The police phoned, they needed yet more details and further photos. It had to be done straight away as they were running out of time in which to continue holding Tony without a charge. More photos were taken an additional statement was given.

I received a phone call later that evening. Tony had been charged. Police had apparently pushed for attempted murder, the CPS however had downgraded the charge to a s.47 assault and threats to kill.

Attempted Murder. Strong words, was it really that bad? Had he really intended to kill me. Then the reality of the assault hit home. Tony wanted to and had tried to kill me. With all the comings and goings and the practicalities that had to be taken care of I had pushed the memory of the assault from my mind and had even started making jokes about it.

I havent mentioned my Mum yet. As a Mother I cannot comprehend how I would begin to deal with either of my children standing in front of me in the state I was in. My Mum is my rock, ever the practical one, always the leveller and calmer. As she was caring for my children her face didn't react, her eyes did. I have never seen such sadness or despair in anyones eyes. I recalled all the lies that I had told to cover Tony's actions all the times I'd avoided seeing my Mum so I didnt have to lie, looking in her eyes I knew that I had to see it through to the bitter end as she wouldnt survive seeing me like this again.

My Mum was also the person that cleaned the scene. She was the one that wiped her daughters blood off walls and doors and had to strip a bed that had gone from white to mainly red.

Friday, 8 February 2013

The Morning After The Night Before..

After a fitful few hours sleep I had to get up and collect my two children from my parents, but how could I turn up looking like this. By half past eight the following morning my face has coloured up rather spectacularly. I had two hugely swollen eyes, one of which I could barely open, I had a lump on my forehead and another at the back of my head. The left hand side of my face had swollen to at least three times its normal size. My arms and legs were black and blue and my right knee was swollen and really painful and I had difficulty walking.

I managed to get myself together enough to dress etc. When I got down the stairs I found Tony sat on the couch with his head in hands. I do genuinely think that once confronted with his handy work he felt remorse. Not however remorse for me but for himself, for what was still to come. He knew that there was no cover story in the world to hide his actions this time.

He apologised told me that he wished he was dead, he wanted to kill himself. I calmly said "don’t let me stop you". I had my chance now, I had things I wanted to stay and I knew that while he was in this state I could say it ALL without repercussions. My little speech went something like this...

"Look at me look at my face remembered every detail of it. Everything that has ever gone wrong in your life is here in technicolour for the world to see. You’ve taken it all out on me. Remember my face because you wont ever see it again. Oh well actually you will, in court. Now get your stuff and get out of my house"

I then left to collect my children. I realised though that there was no way I could go to my parents I couldn’t risk the children seeing the state of me. I'd go to my brothers. He was in bed. He woke to me stooped over him swollen and so badly bruised it’s a wondered he recognised me. All he could say was "SHIT". As only a brother can he took me downstairs put the kettle on and said "come on you need a fag" Only because of the swelling I couldn’t. My top lip was so severely swollen it touched the end of my nose.
My brother then started to deal with the practicalities. He phoned the parents and explained to my dad that there had been incident, and to come round.

I have only ever seen my dad cry once, at my grandfathers funeral and it’s not something that I dealt with well. He arrived at my brother’s house took one look at me and burst into hysterical sobs and took himself into another room. Once composed he simply said "enoughs enough we're going to the police this time, get your coat".

The police took a brief overview and insisted I attend hospital, they would send an officer to me there to take further details. The hospital staff were amazing. They gave me the once over and the took me to a side ward. At this point my dad and brother were asked to leave. I put on a spinal board in a neck brace. They were seriously concerned about my neck in particular because of the force of the blows to my head.

Up until this point my brother had taken great pleasure in taking the mickey out of my new appearance, referring to me as John Merrick (Elephant Man), yes the swelling and lumps and bumps were that bad. When he was allowed to re-enter the room I could hear the nurse explaining that it wasn’t as bad as it looked but they had to be careful, again my brother saw his opportunity for mirth. He however didn’t think it was funny this time. He collapsed all 6'3" of him in a shaking sobbing wreck at the side of me.

I ended up having x-rays, tetanus and hepatitis vaccines, a neck brace and head injury care instructions. I spent the following 5 hours in the police station waiting and giving my statement. My brother stayed the whole time even when he wasn’t allowed in the same room.

The true realisation that it was not just me that was affected suddenly hit home. My dad and brother were broken men, granted only momentarily, but they were. I had yet to see my mum and children.

While I was sat giving my statement my brother had been sat at points in the main reception of the station. While sat chatting but generally minding his own business, he heard a voice that triggered recognition. It was Tony. Tony was turning himself in. I was made aware of this because the officer I was with was notified of Tony’s attendance. Oh My God, my brother. My brother will kill him. Upon seeing my response, my officer radio for support. By this time my brother had coaxed Tony outside and was just working out how to deal with him when 6 officers came racing around the corner grabbed Tony, cuffed him and marched him away.

I would kill for my brother and clearly this is reciprocated, but you know what, Tony isn’t worth it. No-one that can do this is worth a decent loving human being lowering themselves.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

The Day The World Stood Still ~ Part 2

Having barricaded the door the house seemed quiet. I decided that Tony had had enough, he must have thought that he had made his point sufficiently well. I was being spared any further attack. I climbed into bed, totally exhausted. The adrenaline was starting to wear off.

As I lay in bed just on the edge of sleep, I heard someone climbing the stairs. I felt sick to the pit of stomach; my heart was racing and the sound of the beat echoing in my ears. As the panic grew my breath somehow escaped me. I have never known anticipation or fear like it.

Tony started banging on the bedroom door, I asked him to leave me alone, to go away. I could sense his determination to get into the room. He slammed the door each time the furniture I'd stacked moved a little further away creating a slightly larger gap. I'd never known him be so persistent before.

He got in. I was desperately trying to get up and out of the room, trying to pass so I could run away. I saw something in his eyes that I have never seen before. I'd known this guy for four years and in that moment I genuinely did not recognise him. I couldn't get past him. He caught me and grabbed me and threw me onto the bed.

Tony then pinned me to the bed. He sat astride me, pinning my legs with his legs and feet, he held one arm down with his hand and his other arm was across the top of my chest to prevent me sitting up. He was on top, he had complete control.

Tony then began demanding that I say "sorry", he made the same demand 6 maybe 7 times. To this day I don't believe that I had or have anything to apologise for. Each AND every time I refused I was punched with incredible force to the left hand side of my face. Tony punched me so hard that in the process he managed to break three teeth.
How I managed to stay awake I just don’t know, I do know that I have never felt pain like it despite having given birth twice. Once Tony realised that I simply wasn’t going to comply with his request for an apology he changed tack.

He told me repeatedly that he was going to kill me, that he was capable, that he hated me, that my children hated me, that he could do the time, all twenty years and that it would be worth it. I have never ever heard some speak with such venom in their voice, in fact he no longer sounded like Tony it was like he had been taken over (I most certainly am not making excuses here just trying to explain the change).  This is when Tony tried to gouge out my eyes. While saying that my children hated me and that I didn’t ever deserve to see them again he jammed his index fingers into the corners of each eye and tried to pop my eye balls out. I was really starting to get desperate I needed to try at least try and get him off me. I had tried wriggling and thrashing all to no avail. I lashed out and grabbed at the side of his mouth pulling on the corner of his mouth, if I can just distract him enough. Well I succeeded momentarily, he flinched, forgot about my eyes, instead he bit my finger.

I had clearly incensed him further. All I could think about was my two beautiful babies, who I would never see again. Who would explain this to them and how.

Tony was screaming at me threatening to kill me over and over. He was grabbing at me trying to pin me to the bed and when I wouldn’t keep still he punched and slapped me across the face. Worst was still to come.

Tony grabbed me by the throat with two hands and squeezed, it hurt, I panicked, I couldn't breathe properly. It was getting harder and harder to breath. I felt faint. No no  I can’t pass out not now. I found just enough strength to shake myself just enough to put Tony off balance. He had to let go.

I now started screaming and shouting as loud as I could for anyone that might hear. I then remembered that Tony’s children were in the room next to us. I screamed his eldest childs name over and over please come and help me. Tony grabbed my pillow I could see it coming out of the corner of my eye I screamed one more time louder this time as the pillow landed on my face.

Tony’s eldest child had saved me. He had begged his dad to get off me and leave me alone and eventually he did. Just as I was about to lose consciousness for the last time.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

The Day The World Stood Still ~ Part 1

Tony instantly assumed that I was attacking his youngest, which wasn't the case I was merely trying to give him the whole picture to enable him to see that he had accused and punished the wrong child.

The discussion quickly became very heated. I know that look in his eye and his stance. I was determined that I wasn't going to show any fear. I stood my ground, I didn't or so I thought, antagonise, but I did continue in trying to make my point. Tony went outside to smoke, while I washed some pots. I don't remember exactly what was said but something he said put me on notice, I knew what was coming. I closed and locked the back door leaving him outside. This now did antagonise. He was furious. I went to bed. The stones and goodness knows what else started to hit my bedroom window. This was part or his standard armory. I could hear him shouting, he was becoming more and more agitated.
I went to the window, he demanded that I wake his children he didn’t want them in the house with me. I refused and said he should leave them be they were asleep why should they be disturbed. He wouldn't let it lie, so eventually I woke them, told they had to get dressed as their dad wanted them out of the house.

The youngest child was faffing about putting his shoes on, it took what felt like an eternity. All the while all I can think about is which door do I send them out through. Is Tony at the front or the back? I saw him at the front so I hurried the children through the house and to the back door. I thought Tony was still at the front. I was wrong.
As I opened the door, he flung it back against the kitchen wall and ran through it grabbing me and picking me up, he then threw me from the kitchen across the dining room. I slide across the far side of the table and into the sideboard severely banging the back of my head. I was out cold. I came to to see Tony standing over me with a flip-flop in his hand. He then started battering me about the head and face with his flip-flop.
The next thing I remember was being sat on the couch in the main living room. Two years on I have no idea how I got there. Tony wasn't in the room. As I tried to get up he appeared and again started kicking and punching me. I think I must have passed out again, next I knew half an hour had passed and Tony was again nowhere to be seen.
I managed to get upstairs and get my phone bag and keys and even to get back downstairs and out of the house. All the while I was looking over my shoulder, stopping in my tracks as I heard a noise was it him was he following me. My own heart beat echoing in my ears. I was out of the house, I'd got away.

He grabbed me, he was there right behind me. He threw me over his shoulder and carried me screaming, I've never screamed so loud or so long in my life. I was determined to wake the neighbours, someone had to hear and phone the police, please.

He carried me back into my home and threw me across my lounge against the far wall. He then grabbed me and pulled me up and threw punch after punch after punch each and every one landed and injuring.

After each bout it was almost as he took a break, to re-group. Or maybe each time I could take no more and passed out his conscience got the better of him. Whichever, I came to and again found myself alone. This time I ran to my bedroom and barricaded the door with every piece of furniture that I could move.

Momentarily I felt safe. He wouldn't be able to open a door that had two chests of drawers a large leather chair and a wash basket behind it, would he?

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

And So, The End of Days..

Tony hadn’t been back in Spain very long when he phoned to say that the people he had been staying with had had enough they had thrown him and his children out. Would I help him?

I couldn't say no I felt sorry for his kids, they had been passed from pillar to post for years and had witnessed their own mother and various subsequent girlfriends of their father abused. At this point I had received in the post his new bank card. Tony asked if I would book them flights home. I did what I could and managed to organise them flights home within 24 hours which bearing in mind it was the beginning of July is no mean feat.
I had said that I wouldn't pick them up from the airport, I didn’t want anything to do with them, but I would meet him to hand over various things that belonged to him, his bank card being one.

I'm sure you can see were this is leading, I gave in and gave them a lift back. I didn't though at this point have any more to do with them.

Over the next day or so the phone calls and text messages started. I ignored them so Tony changed his tack. He needed various pieces of paperwork that he had left at my house to enable to get housing etc. I met him a few days later and handed them over. He wanted to see the children.

I cautiously agreed but arranged to meet somewhere public. The children were so excited to see their dad. They had the hugest smiles, my eldest burst into floods of tears. I couldn't live with guilt I couldn't be responsible for preventing them having a relationship.

It turned out the accommodation that Tony had secured for him and his other children was in a homeless hostel. I think they stayed once maybe twice. They were spending most of their days at mine with our children. Tony had been looking for more permanent housing and had been successful. All the paperwork was signed he had the keys, he was just organising furniture, that would only take a week at most.

I suggested that they stay with me for the week. It meant that all the kids had time together and he had time with our children, also it gave me a bit of down time even if all I did was do the shopping in piece.

Saturday I was due to go out, but it was cancelled at the last minute. Tony suggested that we had an hour out to talk. Discuss how things were going to work between us going forward. Seemed reasonable, even sensible. Not long before we were due to go there was a small altercation between his two children. Tony as always attacked the elder with no knowledge of the actual event. I made this my business, I don’t know why. Seeing his eldest child in floods of tears certainly had something to do with it.

We had a pretty decent night in all fairness, there were no cross words, we chatted to others and generally had a laugh.

When we got home I decided that it was a good time to ask him why he had sprung to the defense of his younger child who was clearly in the wrong.

That’s when it began. Over three hours of the most excruciatingly painful and without doubt the most frightening night of my life, and what I believed at the time was to be the last night of my life.

Monday, 4 February 2013

The High Price of Freedom

Happy days, Tony’s finally gone I'm free to do as I want with whom I want and when I want.
Things were definitely looking up. I started to see friends again and had quite a few nights out and nights when friends came over. I met someone, it wasn't serious and was never going to be but he flattered me and made me laugh and to be perfectly honest thats all that he did but it was all I wanted. Regardless it had the desired effect and helped to nudge my self-confidence back in the right direction.
Tony started skype-ing our children occasionally. I had to suffer all the “how could you do this to us to me, I love you all” over again and again. I continued to stand firm though.
Tony had become a little more persistent and almost desperate in his pleas. Around this time I had arranged a night out with a gentlemen friend. That afternoon I was with a close friend and we joked that knowing my luck Tony would turn up just as my friend came to pick me up. I swear you couldn't write it. Within a matter of minutes of my friend leaving, Tony appeared at my living room window. Well to say I was shocked and terrified would be an understatement.
I left him to have five minutes with our kids, more really because I couldn't breathe and didn't know how I was supposed to react. I walked to the corner and phoned my friend, who came straight back to console me. I finally found the courage to face him. So I came home, to a barrage of abuse, I was rude; he had come all this way to see me how dare I walk out without even saying hello. He was getting more and more agitated, while was having a groundhog day moment. I'd been here before so many times. I had clearly become so relaxed in the three months he'd been gone that I had as good as forgotten how things had previously been.
That afternoon turned into a nightmare. Tony tried to kidnap our children. Fortunately any semblance of intelligence left both my friend and myself and we pursued him and cut him up with the car as I snatched one child my friend grabbed the other. Tony started shouting and swearing and making threats to my friend, who clung to my youngest child in the hope that he would realise that his child was terrified and stop. He didn’t.
We finally got away with the children who ultimately spent the night at my parents as they were too scared to come home.
I cancelled my night out, I couldn’t face it. I spent the rest of the evening in fear. I was receiving text messages every 30 seconds. They started abusive but quickly became apologetic and groveling. Would I please meet him at the pub just to talk? He missed me, he loved me bla bla bla.
I gave in and I met him. I actually ended up feeling quite sorry for him. Manipulation strikes again. Despite the unhealthy nature of our relationship he was still the father of my children and for their sake I had to be the bigger person. So I agreed that during his five day visit he could spend some time with the children. He did, he also hung around me and very quickly reverted to type. Two days into his visit, I refused to have anything to do with him. This was never received well.