Authors Posts by Helen O'Brien

Helen O'Brien

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Donna sold her story to Real People and the Daily Mirror
Donna sold her story to Real People and the Daily Mirror
When I fell pregnant after 12 years I had no idea that my baby’s struggle had only just begun…
By Donna Blair, 36, from West Lothian, Scotland

My face fell as I gazed at the single blue line. Negative again.

‘We can’t keep putting ourselves through this,’ I told my husband Kevin, 39. ‘We’ll keep trying until December and if we haven’t conceived by then, we’ll give up.’

It was July 2012, and this had been the umpteenth pregnancy test that had confirmed we weren’t expecting.

I already had two beautiful children Chantelle, now 17, and Daniel, now 15, but I missed the pitter patter of tiny feet.

I’d always wanted three kids but after medics discovered pre-cancerous cells during a routine smear, I was forced to have part of my cervix removed.

‘We’d advise against having any more children,’ the doctor announced solemnly. ‘You are now at high risk of miscarrying or having a stillborn baby.’

I was devastated and for 10 years accepted that we were fine as a family of four.

But as the years progressed I couldn’t help feeling that something was missing.

‘Maybe we should just go for it?’ I said to Kevin in July 2010.

‘Let’s give it our best shot,’ he replied, to my delight.

But month after month came disappointment.

We were at the end of our tether… That was until we hit the jackpot in December 2012, my cut-off date.

‘I’m pregnant!’ I shouted with joy.

‘That’s amazing!” Kevin said, taking me into his arms.

We were over the moon. She was our little miracle.

 

Everything was going well until 20 weeks into my pregnancy when my friend Michelle, 42, was driving me to the shops at 50mph when the car in front slammed on its brakes for no reason.

We went careering into the back of it, completely writing off the car.

It was terrifying.

My airbag failed to go off and I felt a jolt of pain rush up my spine as metal twisted with metal.

I don’t remember much apart from screaming on impact and a passerby helping me out of the car before calling 999.

We were blue-lighted to hospital where a medical team was waiting.

‘Please just make sure my baby is OK,’ I pleaded with them, as they carried out their checks.

‘We’ve got to make sure you’re OK first before we focus on the baby,’ a doctor said, examining my neck.

 

Luckily my friend was fine and my baby seemed unmoved by the high speed crash.

I suffered whiplash and was left with chronic back problems but I breathed a sigh of relief when I learned my little one had survived the traumatic ordeal.

But our troubles were far from over.

At 24 weeks, a routine scan revealed that our unborn baby was abnormally small and when doctors found little change four weeks later, I braced myself for the worst.

Within a week my baby had stopped moving and I scrambled to the hospital in a panic.

Lacey-Marie in hospital
Lacey-Marie in hospital

Tests revealed that not only did I have life-threatening pre-eclampsia – I was in early labour!

I was distraught. It was far too early for Lacey-Marie to make her entrance into the world.

I was administered medication to cease the labour and thankfully the contractions stopped. But not for long.

 

‘I have a bad headache,’ I told the doctor as she carried out her rounds a few days later. She immediately took my blood pressure.

‘It’s sky high,’ she told me. ‘We have to get you to theatre.’

I was rushed for a C-section and Lacey-Marie made her early arrival.

Weighing just 2lbs 7oz, she was so tiny  we could fit Kevin’s wedding band around her wrist. She looked like a little raw chicken.

‘You’re lucky you mentioned your headache,’ the doctor said later. ‘We nearly lost both of you.’

Experts were amazed that she was breathing on her own but three weeks later, our little fighter took a turn for the worse.

Lacey-Marie had lung disease and a hole in the heart.

Donna with Lacey-Marie now
Donna with Lacey-Marie now

The odds were against her, but she’d already overcome so many obstacles to be here, she wasn’t about to give up.

 

She fought for her life and incredibly was allowed home two days before her due date – August 11.

At first we were so scared we would harm her because she looked so frail – but we needn’t have worried.

She’s still small for her age, but Lacey-Marie is as strong as an ox. She beat astonishing odds before she was even born!

Donna wanted to sell her story to show how proud she was of her little fighter, Lacey-Marie. We helped her sell her story to both a newspaper and a magazine, reaching a wide audience and fetching the best price. If you’d like to share a story with the national press, fill in the form on the right and we’ll call you to discuss how it works.

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Nicolas injuries
Nicolas injuries
I thought my buff boyfriend Scott was the perfect gent, but he had a dangerous obsession…
By Nicola Currie, 26, from Lanarkshire, Scotland

I stifled a giggle as my boyfriend Scott flexed his biceps while he gazed at the mirror. He was certainly a poser but, as I surveyed his bulging muscles, I knew he had the goods to back it up. Plus, he went to the gym six times a week so he deserved to show off his hard work!

“Looking buff, babe,” I said and he flashed me a grin.

In truth, it was hard to believe the ripped gym addict was the same man who loved to cuddle up to me on the sofa and shower me with presents.

The Scott I knew was sweet and kind. We’d met in a club on New Year’s Eve a few months earlier and he’d asked for my number straight away.

At first, I thought he was a bit cocky but I soon melted when I saw his softer side. On our first date, he took me out for a posh meal and soon started buying me jewellery and flowers. He was also great with my daughter, Erin*, then five, from a previous relationship.

 

We saw each other as much as we could but I knew I had to share Scott with the other love of his life. But it wasn’t another woman, it was his dumbbells!

Nicola and Scott
Nicola and Scott

He told me: “I can’t miss a workout or it will mess up my schedule.”

I was always disappointed when he chose to go to the gym over seeing me, but I couldn’t complain when I saw other girls drooling over his muscles.

And there was no better feeling than snuggling up to that buff body!

But one morning, as we cuddled in bed, I noticed Scott’s back was unusually spotty and a disturbing thought flashed through my mind.

I asked myself: Could Scott be using steroids to make his muscles look even bigger?

I’d heard lots of bodybuilders used them and that acne was a telltale sign. But Scott worked so hard at the gym, I quickly dismissed my fears.

But a few hours later, I went to fix myself a drink and I saw a suspicious looking solution in Scott’s fridge. On his kitchen worktop, there was a used syringe.

When he came downstairs, I asked him: “Have you been taking steroids?”

He replied: “Of course not.”

I held up the solution from the fridge and said: “Well, what’s this then?”

Scott shifted uncomfortably and wouldn’t meet my eye. “It’s a hormone supplement,” he mumbled. “It’s perfectly legal.”

“Well, I really hope you’d never use steroids,” I told him. “They can make people really angry and violent.”

Scotts muscles
Scotts muscles

I put things to the back of my mind but over the next few days, Scott’s moods seemed to change. We were getting ready to go out one night when he snapped and threw my hair straightners across the room.

He said: “Why are you taking so long to do your makeup?”

I was stunned, but I assumed I’d provoked him. I couldn’t understand why my caring partner suddenly had such a short fuse.

I didn’t want us to drift apart, so the next day I suggested I could come along to the gym with him.

He said: “I didn’t want to say anything but you do really need to do some exercise.”

My mouth fell open in shock. Scott was always telling me how beautiful I was. I blinked away the tears in my eyes.

“I’m probably just comparing you with girls at the gym,” Scott went on. “Your body doesn’t look as good as theirs because you’ve had a baby.”

I convinced myself that the problems we were having were all my fault but Scott’s mood swings were soon so frequent, I felt like I was walking on eggshells.

He was like Jekyll and Hyde. One minute, he’d be cosying up to me on the sofa, telling me how lucky he was to have me and the next he’d be in a strop over something silly.

 

I tried to put my doubts to the back of my mind but a few weeks later, I found more solution in his fridge.

I said: “Tell me the truth. Have you been using steroids?”

“You’ve got no right snooping in my fridge,” he snapped back.

But, an hour later, he was his usual, chatty self again.

I thought: Maybe the steroids are none of my business.

The next month, we were invited to Scott’s cousin’s wedding. I put on a beautiful cream dress and Scott told me I looked gorgeous.

The pair on night of the attack
The pair on night of the attack

“You make such a lovely couple,” one of his aunts said.

Another added: “It will be your turn next!”

As we danced the night away, I was on a high. I hadn’t mentioned the steroids again and I felt like we were back on track.

Soon, the lights came up and I couldn’t wait to go home and snuggle up to my man. We flagged down a taxi and Scott suggested we go to a party.

I said: “Let’s just go home. It’ll be nice to have some time alone together.”

Suddenly, Scott’s expression changed.

“Why are you being like this?” he demanded.

“Being like what?” I replied, stunned, but he didn’t explain. For the rest of the journey, he faced the window in a sulk. If I dared speak, he told me to shut up.

But nothing could have prepared me for what happened when we got home. Without saying a word, Scott turned to me and began raining punches on me.

“Scott!” I gasped. “Stop!”

But my pleas fell on deaf ears. Soon, he’d pinned me to the floor and begun biting me as I lay whimpering in agony.

After what seemed like forever, I somehow managed to break free. I ran to the bathroom and locked myself in but within seconds Scott had broken the door down. At 5ft 2ins, I was no match for a bodybuilder.

Nicola's injuries
Nicola’s injuries

“Scott, please!” I sobbed, but there was a crazed look in his eyes. Combined with alcohol, his steroids had turned him into a monster.

I thought: I’m going to die. How will Erin cope without me?

 

Pain tore through me as Scott seized my hair and slammed my head off the side of the bath. Blood was pouring down my face, but I summoned all the strength I had and ran downstairs, where I phoned a taxi on my mobile.

The driver took one look at my face and said: “Who did this to you? I’m phoning the police.”

“No, please don’t!” I cried, terrified of how Scott would react. In my dazed state, I asked him to take me back to Scott’s where I phoned my friend and asked her to collect me.

Scott showed no emotion when I appeared back at his front door.

“Why are you back?” he said. “Look at the state of you. I’m off to bed but make sure you leave by the back door so none of the neighbours see your face.”

My friend insisted on taking me straight to hospital where doctors told me Scott had beaten me so badly he’d left a blood clot in my left eye.

I also had a fractured eye socket, burst blood vessels in my eyes and face, a black eye and lots of painful bruising and swelling on my face and arms.

Nicolas injuries
Nicolas injuries

As a nurse tended my wounds, I realised I couldn’t brush this under the carpet. My relationship with Scott was over, but I had to stop him from doing this to another girl.

I thought: I’m calling the police.

Scott was arrested but I was completely traumatised. Erin burst into tears when she saw my face, so I told her I’d fallen down the stairs.

I was so shaken I could barely leave the house for three weeks. A taxi driver even popped into the supermarket to pick up some groceries for me when he saw how anxious I was.

Meanwhile, Scott was posing on Facebook with different girls and boasting about his lads’ nights out. It was sickening.

In time, Scott Ross, 23, of Shotts, Lanarkshire, appeared at Hamilton Sheriff Court, where he initially denied assault. However, he changed his plea to guilty at the last minute.

He was sentenced to 150 hours of unpaid work, avoiding jail. When a police officer phoned to tell me, I was so devastated I hung up.

 

I thought: The system is protecting him. It should be protecting me.

Now, I’m trying my best to look to the future. I have a new partner and, thankfully, he’s nothing like Scott.

I haven’t spoken to Scott since the night of the attack, but I’ve heard he has a new girlfriend. If the rumours are true, I’m scared for her.

If he wasn’t jailed for what he did to me, what will he do next?

I don’t know if steroids make all users violent, but mixed with alcohol, they can be deadly. Scott was the one person I expected to protect me – but steroids turned him into a monster.

If you’ve got a crime story to sell to the media, like Nicola, then you’ve come to the right place. We helped Nicola get the best price, selling her story to a newspaper and two magazines. Why not have a look at our ‘how to’ guides and then contact us using the form on the right for a confidential and no-obligation chat about your options.

 

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Beth sold her story to Thats Life!
Beth sold her story to Thats Life!
I’d supported Chris through thick and thin. Then Facebook revealed a dirty secret…
By Beth Coombs, 24, from Southsea, Hampshire

Still sweaty as I hopped off the treadmill, I smiled when I saw the message that had just come through on my phone.

It was Chris, my latest Tinder flirtation.

 

‘How’s the gym going?’ he asked.

I’d been chatting to Chris non-stop since we’d matched on the online dating app a few weeks before.

Chris
Chris

He was really into fitness and nutrition, plus he was drop dead gorgeous. Working as a personal trainer, he had the chiselled body you’d expect. There was nothing not to like.

It was fun picking his brain for new workouts and healthy meal ideas. But, there was always a flirty undertone to our conversations.

However, I didn’t want to rush into things and was determined not to let my heart take over my head. I wanted to really get to know Chris before we met up. I didn’t just want a random sexy hookup.

Yet I couldn’t get him out of my head. Then, eventually in December last year, I agreed to a date.

Chris had messaged asking yet again whether I’d meet up with him yet. I was ready to take our online flirtation offline, but I’d already made plans.

‘I can’t today, I’ve got to go to Pets at Home,’ I said.

 

‘I’ll come with you,’ he offered.

That made me smile. It might not be the most romantic first date location, but the fact he was willing to make an effort impressed me.

From the moment I laid eyes on Chris, I knew he measured up to every single one of my expectations.

He was just as tall, dark and devastatingly handsome as I’d hoped.

Chris was gorgeous
Chris was gorgeous

Then, he flashed me his winning smile and I swooned.

We spent ages wandering around the pet store, as I shopped for a companion for my pet ret, Ratta.

The little rodents aren’t always everyone’s cup of tea, but it didn’t put Chris off. I ended up buying two more rats, Mouse and Shadow, because I just couldn’t make up my mind.

All I could think about was how sexy Chris was.

 

Soon, we were meeting up for dates two to three times each week. And, in between, we were always texting each other.

Then, at the end of March I fell ill with flu and Chris was straight over to make sure I was ok.

He ended up staying with me for a whole week, binning my snotty tissues and making sure I was eating and drinking enough.

He was a keeper.

But then, at the beginning of April I got a message from him that rocked my world. Chris had been detained by the Home Office for visa investigations, and was facing deportation.

I knew Chris was from Nigeria, and we’d spoken about his life there a lot. However, he told me he had a student visa and was completely free to live in the UK.

I believed him, and was sure it was just a mix up. But, in the meantime, he was being held in Weymouth nearly 100 miles away from my home in Southsea.

 

I was distraught. We’d only been together for a few months but already I’d imagined a future with Chris.

‘Please come and visit me,’ he begged.

There was no way I’d refuse. I was absolutely heartbroken we were being kept apart.

So, as soon as I finished my shift at the care home where I worked, I got in the car and drove straight down there.

Chris
Chris

‘Don’t worry, we’ll get through this,’ he promised me, as soon as he saw my dismayed face.

‘But what if you get deported?’ I asked, tears welling in my eyes.

‘I’ll get it all sorted out and be straight back here,’ he said. ‘And, in the meantime, you can always come to Africa for holidays.’

I smiled, bravely. Whatever happened, I’d be there for him. I promised Chris that if he needed me to sign any forms or sort out any paperwork I’d be ready.

 

But, while the Home Office was investigating, the one thing Chris really needed was money. I’d take him whatever cash I had spare, for him to buy odd bits and bobs in the detention centre.

There wasn’t much left once I’d paid my rent, and filled up my car with tank after tank of petrol for the journey.

Then, we got the news I’d been hoping for. Lawyers had argued that it wasn’t safe for Chris to go back to Nigeria and his flight plans had been cancelled.

Finally, we could start making plans to pick up where we left off.

‘I’ll tell them they can release me to live with you,’ he said. ‘And I’ll have to say you’ll support me financially.’

It was quite full on. We hadn’t talked about moving in together yet. But I was sure that Chris was the man for me, so I agreed. Whatever it took to get my boyfriend back.

In the meantime, he was transferred to another detention centre near Heathrow. Then, one evening in June he phoned me.

‘They’ve released me, can you come to collect me?’ he asked. I was over the moon.

I gave him the biggest kiss as he climbed into the car. I was so pleased to see him. Then we drove back to my house, where I rented a room in a shared home.

We stayed up all night talking, while Chris filled me in on every little detail of what had happened. It was amazing to have him back.

At first things got right back on track. But, after four weeks, Chris’s behaviour started to change. One evening, I got home from work excited to snuggle up and watch a movie.

But as soon as I came through the door, Chris started putting his trainers on.

‘I’m going out for the night,’ he announced.

‘Oh, where?’ I asked.

 

 

‘Seeing some friends, I’ll be back late,’ he said, and left.

I felt a bit down. It wasn’t that I begrudged Chris spending time with his mates. After all, he’d spent months locked up.

However, it seemed a bit rude that he was heading out the moment I got back from work.

Other things made me question his commitment to our relationship too.

He refused to let me put anything about our relationship on Facebook, and any time I tried to take a selfie of us he banned me from showing it to anyone else.

It seemed strange, but I couldn’t put my finger on why. I thought perhaps it was just the way he was… yet it was a side of him I hadn’t seen before.

Our sex life became non-existent, as he would sleep all day when I was out at work then go out as soon as I was home.

 

I tried to tell him I felt a bit used and confused, but he didn’t seem to care.

‘I don’t always want to be here with you,’ he said, coldly.

Then, one weekend in July when Chris had mysteriously gone away for a few days to Surrey, I noticed a girl liking all of his pictures on Facebook.

I clicked onto her profile, but I didn’t recognise her. And, while I knew lots of his friends, Chris had never mentioned her.

I had a strange sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.

So, I decided to get to the bottom of things and I sent this girl a message.

‘Have you been seeing Chris?’ I asked. Somehow I knew that the answer would be yes.

 

‘I’ve been seeing him since Christmas,’ she admitted. My heart sank. The same time we’d got together.

Over messages, we pieced together his betrayal. He’d been having a break in his relationship with her while he was down in Weymouth.

Then, as soon as he was released, he’d picked up right where they left off.

She’d had no idea he was living with me, or even that he had a girlfriend.

And, it suddenly made sense to me why he was always off out, supposedly with his friends. No wonder he didn’t want me to say anything online about our relationship.

I wasn’t angry with her, as she’d been duped by Chris too. We ended up finishing our conversation on good terms, and both pledged to ditch Chris for good.

Beth now
Beth now

Now, I just had him to deal with.

When I confronted him, Chris claimed that he’d kept the affair secret because he felt too bad to tell me.

‘You’ve done so much for me, I felt guilty,’ he said, sheepishly.

He was right about that. But, I wasn’t going to do anything else for him. I kicked him out, there and then.

Losing Chris was hard, but I’m glad I discovered the truth and outed that rat, all thanks to Facebook.  

Chris, 29, said: ‘Blah blah blah, get straight to the point. Alright, I don’t mean to be rude, I need sleep. I need to sleep, I can’t help you.’

Beth was appalled when she found out the truth about Chris, especially after everything she’d done for him. She decided to get her revenge by selling her story to That’s Life! magazine where she named and shamed him. If you have a betrayal you’d like to share, complete the form on the right and one of our team will ring you to explain how it works.

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Kellie sold her story to Take a Break
Kellie sold her story to Take a Break
I thought I’d found a friend for life but the discovery of a DVD was to turn it upside down…
By Kellie Denton, 37, from Lowestoft

I was gently pushing the buggy down the front door steps, when I spotted my neighbour Amanda. It was the first time I’d noticed she was pregnant.  

‘How far along are you?’ I asked, pointing to her bump.

‘Seven months,’ Amanda replied. ‘And how old is your little one?’

‘Three weeks,’ I gushed. ‘Well if you need any tips or anything or just fancy a cup of tea, you’re welcome to pop around any time.’ I added. From that moment on we were firm friends.

 

My long-term partner Colin, 53, and I had not long moved into the area. I’d just given birth to my first child – a girl – and I hardly knew anyone. Amanda was a godsend. I felt incredibly lucky to have met another woman in my situation.

Kellie and Colin
Kellie and Colin

We would spend our afternoons wandering around the shops together and pick out tiny outfits for our babies. We’d chat about the latest prams, breastfeeding techniques and discuss her ideas for baby names.

When she gave birth to her son in March 2001, we became each other’s crutch.  

We would often babysit for each other, or just be there at the end of an exhausting day for a catch up over a cuppa, our little bundles asleep beside us.  

‘Sometimes I wonder who you prefer, Amanda or me,’ Colin, 53, would joke.

‘That’s easy – Amanda,’ I would giggle.

So when Amanda announced that she was leaving Sittingbourne to move to Margate, I was gutted.

 

 

‘What am I going to do without you next door?’ I said.

‘Don’t worry – we’ll stay in touch,’ Amanda promised.

‘You better come and visit!’ I added. I tried to be happy for her but secretly I was devastated to be losing my best friend.

Over the next few years, it became harder and harder to see each other but we kept in touch over the phone. So when Amanda accepted my invitation to come to stay with us for a week in the summer of 2003, I was delighted.

‘I’ve got to put up with you pair again!’ Colin said, when I told him she’d said yes.

Kellie and Colin
Kellie and Colin

‘You’re just jealous,’ I said, leaning in for a kiss. ‘We’ll try not to leave you out.’  

I’d been counting down the days until Amanda arrived and was ready to burst with excitement by the time she rang the doorbell.

‘You’re here!’ I screamed, wrapping my arms around her. There was so much to catch up on.

But it didn’t take long for me to pick up that something was wrong.

Amanda and Colin seemed to be very chummy and when I noticed her being over familiar with Colin, it just didn’t add up.

‘What are you two giggling at?’ I asked one day when I found the pair in fits of laughter in the kitchen.

‘Oh it’s nothing,’ Colin replied, as the two of them left the room together.

It happened multiple times. I felt like I was constantly not in on the joke. I felt like a third wheel in our own home and it was very odd.

Unable to dismiss my concerns, I finally confronted Colin,

‘What’s going on with you two?’ I asked.

‘What?’ Replied Colin, bursting out with laughter. ‘Amanda? You’re acting like a crazy woman.’

I said: ‘I know it’s weird but I feel like you’re both leaving me out.’

Colin gave me a big hug. ‘This is all in your head,’ he said.

I told him how I was having trouble understanding how close they’d apparently become.

‘I actually find her annoying and I’m looking forward to her leaving,’ he said. ‘Perhaps I’ve been overcompensating?’

From their behaviour towards one another, what Colin said didn’t ring true – but I had to admit, I felt like I was going mad and I tried to push my niggling doubts to the back of my mind. Amanda was my best friend and Colin was the love of my life.

Kellie and Colin
Kellie and Colin

After that Amanda gradually went off the radar. She stopped replying to my texts and would never return my calls.

 

As the years rolled by, Amanda and I lost touch completely. I didn’t hold it against her. I was now a busy mother of four and so was she.

We both had other priorities and lived an hour’s drive apart. Not an easy journey to make with a car-full of kids.  

Then in 2014, I was having a spring clean and clearing out some old boxes in the attic when I came across a blank DVD. I knew instantly something was up.

Colin and I kept all our DVDs in the living room so I couldn’t understand why this one was up here. Whoever it belonged to, didn’t want it to be found.  

Grabbing the disc, I rushed to the bedroom and slotted it into our DVD player. I felt a nervous knot tighten in my stomach as the screen flickered into life and the film started to play.

My mouth fell open in shock as the footage showed Amanda, stark naked, touching herself, saying things that I knew Colin loved to hear.

As I watched the camera zoom in on certain parts of her body, I realised someone had to be filming it… was it Colin? I called him straight away. I was fuming.

‘Don’t be ridiculous,’ he said. ‘It’s some porn I downloaded off the internet. I didn’t even realise the girl looked like Amanda!’

I wasn’t born yesterday – I knew that Colin was feeding me a pack of lies. He wasn’t even man enough to admit it. I’d been right all those years ago and I was right now.  

I contacted Amanda over Facebook.

I wrote: ‘I know something happened between you two.’

‘He started texting me when I was pregnant,’ she replied. ‘I didn’t know who it was.’

It was time to drop the bombshell. ‘I found the DVD,’ I typed. ‘He’s being very vague so I need to hear it from you.’  

When Amanda described to me how she’d been drunk when Colin had suggested he come over to her house and they’d made their disgusting film, I felt sick.

 

But I had to know what happened. After being lied to for years all I wanted was the truth, no matter how unpalatable it was.

 

Now I knew why we’d grown apart. She’d been too guilty to continue our friendship. She didn’t want to look me in the eye.

‘I’m sorry for what I have done,’ she added.

I was mad, but unlike Colin, at least Amanda had been straight with me. Colin’s inability to confess to me was like another betrayal.

Kellie and Colin
Kellie and Colin

The fact that he had kept the DVD meant that he was most likely still using it for his own pleasure. They might have got together years ago but the thought of him still watching their homemade film made it all the worse. Amanda may have been out my life but she was blatantly still in Colin’s fantasies.  

I knew the relationship was over after that. Every time I looked at his face I felt nothing but hatred.

I wasn’t just nursing a broken heart, I’d been made a fool of. A spring clean had dished the dirt on my Colin and our naughty neighbour.

 

I promptly dumped him. I’d waited over a decade for the truth but the camera never lies and now I finally had it – in full motion picture.

Colin says: “(Amanda’s) not her best friend, it’s just a friend of both of ours – and that happened in 2002. (Amanda) came over to stay and obviously something happened between me and her which I’m not proud of. Kellie found this thing later on that I told her had nothing to do with me. That (the DVD) hasn’t got anything to do with why we split up. I cheated on her, yes, but the video thing I don’t understand what that’s all about in all honesty.”

Amanda’s message to Kellie: “I had just broke up with Mark (her then partner) and he (Colin) was texting me again and I think I was a bit drunk when he suggested coming over and then it happened – the DVD. I told him if you (Kellie) ever asked me I would tell. I understand if you hate me and don’t want to know me. I am sorry for what I’ve done. ”

Kellie was shocked when her spring clean uncovered her Colin’s dirty DVD and she decided to name and shame him in Take a Break magazine. If you have a cheating story to tell like Kellie, fill in the form on the right and we’ll give you a call and help you get the best price for it.

 

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Patti sold her story to Womans Own
Patti sold her story to Womans Own
When I was denied funding by the NHS to have my breast implants removed, I took matters into my own hands…
By Patti Tucker, 50, from Bristol

As I fasten the clasp of my size C cup bra and look in the mirror, I breathe a sigh of relief. My nightmare is over. I may be 50, but for the first time in my life I am completely happy with my breasts. It’s been a long journey, with twists and turns, but thanks to some DIY handy work, I’m finally at ease with my body.

I had a fantastic figure in my twenties. As a dancer, I was in great shape, but my chest was as flat as a pancake. I wanted to feel more feminine so in 2001 I decided to have a breast enlargement. I was living in Phoenix, Arizona at the time and cosmetic surgery in America is par for the course. It’s completely normal to have your assets adapted if you have the money to go under the knife.   

Patti before her boob job
Patti before her boob job

I was glad I did. Although I was slightly nervous before I was wheeled into theatre, the surgery boosted my breasts from an A cup to a double D. I can’t deny they took some getting used to but once they’d healed, they looked great. I’d never felt more womanly. Rather than having an androgynous, athletic shape, I finally had curves. My new boobs accentuated my tiny waist, and I finally had a cleavage I could be proud of. I loved them and for the first seven years after the operation, I was brimming with confidence.

But as I started to age, my breasts became firmer with scar tissue until they were rock hard and I felt like I had two bowling balls up by my chin! I adore the outdoors but when I went on a hike, I’d feel them pull at my chest with every step. And in bed at night, I’d toss and turn, trying to find a position that would accommodate my bountiful bosom. They became so uncomfortable that my arms and sides would ache and day-to-day tasks became a struggle. They were just too heavy –  and I was petite.

 

I’d had enough. I wanted them out and made several requests to the NHS to have the implants removed. Every time I received a rejection in the post, my heart would sink. Determined to have my implants removed, I would apply again but I was repeatedly denied. I didn’t have £3000 to go private, so deflated, I started researching alternatives. In the US, it’s customary for local doctors to simply pop the implants, as saline can be safely absorbed by the body, but there’s no such procedure here. That’s when I came up with a cunning plan.

‘If I get turned down for the reversal one more time, I’ll do it myself,’ I told my GP firmly. She thought I was joking.

Patti after her boob job
Patti after her boob job

In 2014, I was at the end of my tether. It was time to take matters into my own hands. I’d read blog after blog and knew my stuff. I was ready.

I drove to my local farm’s livestock shop and searched for the correct utensils.

‘Is there anything I can help you with?’ asked the assistant.

 

‘My cow’s knee needs to be drained,’ I lied. ‘Can you take me to what I need?’

I left the shop with a 17 gauge hypodermic needle as well as disposable sheets, gloves, sterilising liquid and wipes.

When I got home, I set up the dresser with everything I needed and took off my bra. I took a good look at my inflated boobs and told myself I could do it.

Needles like the ones Patti used
Needles like the ones Patti used

I decided to pop one boob first in case it all went horribly wrong. My hand trembled as I inserted the needle into my right breast and although the prick was painful, I felt the pressure lift immediately as the liquid steadily drained from the implant. Around 45 minutes later, the breast was done. Impressed with my own handy work, I repeated the same steps with the left breast. Pop!

I wasn’t too worried. I was texting a friend with updates incase I needed help and I knew that the 350cc of saline in each implant couldn’t do any damage to my insides. If anything, my biggest problem was going to be tender, black and blue boobs. But I was more than happy to put up with the pain for a few weeks if it meant an end to my ordeal.  

It took a fortnight after my DIY boob job for my breasts to settle but since then I’ve had no problems at all. Once they had healed, I had them checked out by my doctor who gave me the all clear. I was concerned they’d end up like two tiny shrivelled bags but because I’m older and have put on a bit of weight, I’ve luckily been left with more comfortable, shapely C cups.

The empty implant shells are still inside my body but you can’t see them and they don’t cause me any discomfort so I have no plans to remove them.

I was shocked when, just a couple of weeks after my DIY surgery, funding for the removal of my implants was finally approved. It was typical, I’d been bursting with frustration – literally – and now I was being offered the op safely.  

Patti now
Patti now

Now, I want to speak out so cheap options become more freely available for women like me on the NHS. I know that if I had just waited a few more weeks, I could have had the implants removed professionally but I have no regrets. I’m glad I took the plunge.

Patti was desperate but determined when she decided to burst her own boobs. Afterwards, she was keen to speak out to raise awareness of cheaper options being more freely available to women suffering as she was. We helped her sell her story to Woman’s Own and if you have a story you’d like to share, why not fill in the form on the right and tell us about it.

Kirsty sold her story to a newspaper and a magazine
Kirsty sold her story to a newspaper and a magazine
As my baby’s life hung in the balance, I didn’t think it could get much worse. But then I learnt the devastating truth…
By Kirsty Lister, 30, from Scunthorpe

I carefully laid my daughter into her cot and smiled to myself. Mollie-Grace was just 12 weeks old, and she was the most beautiful thing I had ever laid eyes on.

 

Of course, as her mother I was biased. But her coming into the world had made me the happiest I had been for a very long time. For once, I had a proper family unit, and that meant everything to me.

It had been just me and my other daughter, Lexi-May, four, for a good few years. I was wary of starting a relationship with anyone as my little girl always came first, but when I met Michael, 30, through mutual friends in November 2013, I was instantly smitten.

He added me on Facebook first, and after a few days of chatting he asked me out for a drink. As well as being handsome, Michael turned out to be the perfect gentleman – he treated me brilliantly, taking me out for dinner and paying me lots of compliments.

Michael
Michael

He was very well-mannered and had a great sense of humour. He was also quite old-fashioned – he really enjoyed taking care of me and making sure I was ok. I could feel myself falling for him hard, and in time I decided he could meet Lexi-May.

I was nervous of what she would think of Michael, as she was so used to having me all to herself, but luckily she adored him straight away – and he loved her in return.

We started spending more and more time together as a family, and in January 2014 I found out I was pregnant. I was stunned – I’d suffered ovarian cancer years earlier and had been told I’d have difficulty conceiving.

 

I wasn’t sure what Michael was going to say, as we had only been together a couple of months, but I knew I wanted to keep the baby. To my delight, he was over the moon.

‘She’s a little miracle,’ he beamed, rubbing my stomach. ‘Let’s do it. We’ll be a proper little family.’

Little Mollie-Grace was born nine months later, in September 2014, and when Michael held her for the first time, he had tears in his eyes.

‘I can’t believe I’m a dad,’ he said with a smile. ‘Don’t you worry babe, I’ll take care of you all.’

And he was true to his word. He helped around the house, cooked dinner for Lexi-May and I, and got up with me for the night feeds. He was a loving, doting dad in every way, and every day I thanked my lucky stars that Mollie-Grace, Lexi-May and I had him.

But one night in December, when Mollie-Grace was 12 weeks old, everything changed.

 

I was exhausted from staying up with her the night before, and I couldn’t stop yawning as I plodded into the living room with a bottle for her.

‘You look knackered,’ Michael remarked. ‘Why don’t you go to bed and try to get some rest? I’ll stay up tonight and take care of Mollie-Grace.’

Baby Mollie
Baby Mollie

I was so grateful. I gave him a quick kiss goodnight and jumped into bed.

But at 6.30am, I was woken by an ear-piercing cry. I rushed downstairs to find Michael holding Mollie-Grace, looking panicked.

‘She’s not breathing,’ he cried. Mollie-Grace’s little features were expressionless and her tiny body was floppy.

‘What do you mean she’s not breathing? What’s happened?’ I screamed, looking around for my phone.

‘I don’t know,’ he stammered. ‘She just stopped breathing.’

 

Frantically, I dialled 999 and the operator instructed Michael to perform CPR on her while we waited for an ambulance. As I watched him desperately try to bring my little girl back to life, I felt my whole world cave in around me.

The wait for the paramedics to arrive felt like a lifetime, and when they finally arrived they drove past our house so I had to run down the street to flag them down.

I went with Mollie-Grace to the hospital while Michael stayed home to take care of Lexi-May.

When we got there, she was immediately taken into a room filled with doctors who started to try to revive her. I paced the halls, confused and distraught over what had happened to my baby.

About an hour later, Michael arrived at the hospital after having taken her to my dad’s house. I collapsed into his arms and sobbed.

 

After what felt like forever, a doctor came out to speak to us.

Mollie in hospital
Mollie in hospital

‘Mollie-Grace has suffered a massive brain haemorrhage and is fighting for her life,’ he said gravely. ‘There’s only one way a baby could sustain injuries like this. She’s been shaken.’

My stomach tightened into a knot and I felt like I was going to throw up. I turned around to look at Michael, who refused to meet my gaze. Instead, he stared at the ground.

‘Can I speak to you outside for a moment?’ he asked, once the doctor had gone.

I nodded silently and as we stood near the hospital entrance, Michael admitted harming our baby.

‘I might have shaken her, or dropped her,’ he began, and I clenched my fists tightly. I was so angry I was scared I was going to hit him. ‘I shook her when she stopped breathing –  it was to get her to breathe, Kirsty.’

I felt like someone had stuck a knife into my stomach. My little girl was fighting for her life and her father was responsible.

 

Any feelings of love for Michael disappeared instantly in that moment. He knew full well you should never shake a baby. I turned on my heels and walked back into the waiting room. When I got there, the police were waiting.

‘He’s got something to tell you,’ I said to them, pointing at Michael. ‘He’s responsible for this.’

The officers took Michael away for questioning while I stayed at Mollie’s bedside. It was horrible seeing her wired up to so many cables and I felt like I was going mad with worry.

At one point, she stopped breathing and the alarms went off, doctors and nurses ran into the room and ushered me out.

With Michael gone, friends and family members rallied around me at the hospital and took it in turns looking after Lexi-May. As I watched over Mollie-Grace, I thought it couldn’t get any worse. But a few days later, the police arrived to speak to me.

I thought they were going to give me an update on Michael, but instead they arrested me, too. I was gobsmacked – how on earth could they possibly think I would hurt my child?

 

‘You’ve got it wrong,’ I sobbed. ‘Michael did this – hasn’t he told you that?’

‘Mr Montandon hasn’t admitted anything,’ they said. ‘We need you to come to the station Miss Lister.’

My dad, Steve, 50, stayed at Mollie-Grace’s side for me while I was question by police and put into a cell.

I curled up in a ball and cried uncontrollably. I wondered whether Mollie-Grace was still alive and my heart ached at being kept away from her.

I feared going to prison for something I hadn’t done, and above all I felt anger that Michael had lied through his teeth.

A few hours later, I was released on bail, but I was told the children were being taken away from me until they knew who had hurt Mollie-Grace. Thankfully, they were to be placed with my father, so I would still see them.

Kirsty with Mollie on life support
Kirsty with Mollie on life support

‘You’ll be unable to see them unsupervised,’ a social worker told me sternly. ‘That means you’re not allowed to be alone with them. Not even to take them to the bathroom.’

 

It broke my heart that I was in the frame for something so terrible, but I was just grateful I was still allowed to see them at all, and I knew my dad would take brilliant care of them.

In the meantime, Mollie-Grace miraculously started to recover from her ordeal. After three weeks, she was allowed to leave the hospital.

‘In cases like this we would expect some brain damage or paralysis,’ a doctor warned us. ‘Mollie-Grace is certainly a little fighter, but keep an eye on her.’

Lexi-May and Mollie-Grace moved in with my dad while Michael continued to lie about what had happened to our baby that day. He made no contact with me at all. I wondered how he could sleep at night knowing what he had done.

After 12 months the police said they wouldn’t be charging me, and that I was able to have the kids home with me again, where they belonged.

 

Finally, 18 months after that horrendous day, Michael  admitted shaking Mollie-Grace at a pre-trial hearing and at Hull Crown Court in July 2016 he was jailed for two years for GBH.

Kirsty and Mollie
Kirsty and Mollie

As far as I’m concerned, it’s not long enough. He nearly killed his own daughter and then his lies left me in the frame. I missed the first 18 months of her life. I should have been bonding with Mollie-Grace, sharing those first precious moments.

Instead, I was only allowed controlled access to my baby. Despite doctors’ predictions, Mollie-Grace has defied the odds to make a full recovery.
But I’ll never forgive that monster for robbing me of the first 18 months of her life – and for nearly snuffing it out all together.

Kirsty faced the unthinkable when her partner’s lies left her in the frame for their daughter’s injuries. When she cleared her name she wanted to share her incredible story with a wide range of viewers so our team at Sell My Story negotiated deals for her with the Sunday Mirror and Take a Break magazine. If you want to talk openly about a crime that’s effected you, please contact us on the form no the right and we’ll explain the process.

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Liz now
Liz now

 

I was on a dream holiday to Thailand when I saw this nightmare photo…
By Liz Knight, 42, from Norwich

 

Slouched in front of the television and covered in crumbs, I reached over for another biscuit to ram into my mouth.

Every evening was the same. I’d order a huge takeaway and gorge on snacks until late at night, not caring what it was doing to my body.

After I escaped a violent relationship with my son, Owen, now 16, in tow, I was forced to flee to a women’s refuge for my safety. I started comfort eating to deal with my emotions and food quickly became my best friend.

I’d start my day by scoffing a fry-up, followed by a couple of sandwiches, crisps and chocolate for lunch. Dinner was often a whole pizza, followed by a packet of biscuits or a big slab of chocolate.

Soon enough, I tipped the scales at almost 30 stone and wore a colossal dress size 40. My joints ached under my bulk and I found it difficult to walk, so had to get taxis everywhere.

Liz before her weight loss
Liz before her weight loss

Clothes shopping was a nightmare and I was forced to wear tent-like baggy clothes to cover up my hulking frame. And although I painted a smile on my face for Owen’s sake, inside I was insecure and miserable.

I tried diet after diet but nothing ever stuck. I always gave up at the first hurdle, convincing myself that looks didn’t matter and that I didn’t care about my size. And when doctors warned me of the danger I was doing to my body, I didn’t listen. I loved my food too much to care.

 

After years of suffering at the hands of my ex boyfriend, I came out of that relationship and slowly realised that I was gay.

I’d lost all hope of ever finding someone to love me for who I was, but in October 2012, I met Jo, 40, and everything changed.

We met through a mutual friend on Facebook, and had become inseparable ever since. Kind, charming and warm, she restored my faith in relationships and I soon fell in love with her.

Jo didn’t care about my weight – she loved me for the person I was and we spent hours together, giggling about life and not taking ourselves too seriously.

But although I was in love, I still felt the odd twinge of embarrassment when Jo had to wait for me to walk, panting behind her, or when I got out of breath just walking up a flight of stairs with her.

My feet were constantly swollen due to the excess weight I was forcing upon my joints, and I’d have to stop every five minutes as we pushed our trolley around the supermarket aisles.

‘Come on slow coach,’ Jo would smile at me. ‘We’ve got loads more to get.’ I grinned back at her, but inside I was mortified.

 

‘What can you possibly see in a woman like me?’ I asked her that night, when we were snuggled up watching television. ‘I’m huge.’

‘Well there’s more of you to love,’ Jo shrugged, and then laughed. ‘Plus, I love you, you silly thing. I’m going to marry you one day.’

‘Yeah right,’ I laughed. Jo always knew what to say to make me feel better.

To prove her point, Jo proposed while she was away on holiday in December 2012 by writing ‘Will you marry me?’ in the sand and sending me a photograph of it. I was over the moon.

Liz and Jo wedding
Liz and Jo wedding

So in October 2013, we got married in a civil partnership ceremony. I was on cloud nine that day, but instead of a traditional white gown, I wore a baggy purple dress as that’s all that would fit me and I spent the day feeling fat and frumpy.

‘You look beautiful,’ Jo whispered as we signed the register. I smiled weakly back at her, but I didn’t feel beautiful.

 

The following year, in December 2014, we went to Thailand for a holiday of a lifetime. We’d saved really hard for the trip, foregoing all sorts of treats in the meantime.

 

I couldn’t wait to get away, but trawling my massive bulk around in the oppressive heat was really hard. I had to stop and catch my breath more than usual, while Jo waited patiently for me.

 

When we went to an elephant refuge, I smiled as I proudly posed next to one of the huge creatures. But then a horrible thought crossed my mind.

 

I’m almost as big as this guy.

 

I hoped that nobody else would have the same thought, but as I struggled to get on the giant animal for a ride, I felt red hot embarrassment burning my face.

 

Later that day, I had a photograph taken with a baby elephant.

 

‘I’m bigger than this little fella,’ I joked with Jo, but inside I was crushed. I probably weighed more than him too – a baby elephant!

Liz with the elephant
Liz with the elephant

I tried to shake off my embarrassment, but I was relieved to finally get on the plane home.

But as I went to sit down, I winced with horror.

‘What’s wrong?’ asked Jo when she caught sight of my expression.

‘I’m stuck,’ I replied, blushing bright red. ‘I can’t sit down.’

My bum was wedged between the two armrests on my seat, and no matter how hard I pushed, I couldn’t squish myself between them to sit down.

Somehow, I must have gained even more weight during the holiday. There was nothing I could do, so I had to get up and ask the stewardess if she could move me to another seat.

She was lovely and quickly agreed to help, but I still ended up squished up against a single armrest for the 11 hour flight.

 

I spent the whole flight uncomfortable and mortified. When we finally landed on UK soil, I was exhausted, and my confidence had hit rock bottom.

By November 2015 I’d finally had enough of the elephant in the room, so I decided to join Slimming World.

Liz with an elephant
Liz with an elephant

Determined to finally shift the bulge, I marched down to my first local meeting, hand in hand with Jo. I was so nervous, I paced around for a few minutes before I could pluck up the courage to walk through the doors.

‘I’ll go in first love,’ Jo soothed. ‘You just follow behind me.’

As we walked in, I looked around and realised I was easily the biggest one there. But everyone there was so friendly, I soon put my worries to the back of my mind. I came out feeling positive and when I lost 9lbs in my first week, I was thrilled.

Jo and I found we enjoyed cooking healthy homemade meals rather than relying on takeaways, and she supported me endlessly.

Just 18 months later, I stepped on the scales to find I had lost an incredible 14 stone.

 

‘Are you sure?’ I gasped as the number on the scale finally settled.

My leader beamed at me. ‘That’s right,’ she said. ‘14 stone gone forever – congratulations!’

As I was awarded with a certificate for my amazing achievement, I felt on top of the world. I looked over at Jo to find her beaming at me.

Liz now
Liz now

 

I ran straight over to hug my wonderful wife, who couldn’t stop telling me how proud she was of me.

I’ve now shrunk to a size 18 and I feel fantastic. I still want to lose another stone, but I look and feel like a different person.

They say elephants never forget – well I’ll never forget how I felt that day. I still cringe when I look at my holiday photos – I’ve got more junk in my trunk than an elephant – but I’m glad I was shamed into action!

Liz was mortified when she saw her Nelly Belly in her holiday photos but it was the motivation she needed to lose weight. We helped her share her slimming success with a newspaper and a magazine, selling Liz’s story to Real People and Daily Star Sunday, inspiring a huge number of readers. If you want to tell your weight loss story, fill in the form on the right and we’ll give you a bell to tell you how it works.

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Sarah and Shane
Sarah and Shane
Had my man’s wrong number text revealed his biggest secret?
By Sarah Dingle, 32, Buxton, Derbyshire

 

I pulled on a slouchy hoody and slid my feet into a dirty old pair of trainers.

‘You’re wearing that?’ my friend Hannah said, giving me a look.

‘Yeah why not?’ I replied. ‘I don’t even know the bloke, why would I dress up for him?’

I’d planned to spend the evening with Hannah round at her boyfriend Dan’s flat. But Dan’s friend had recently moved in too, and I could tell Hannah was planning to set us up together.

I wasn’t that interested though. And, from what I’d heard, Shane wouldn’t be either. He’d just split from his wife and I wasn’t going to be a rebound romance.

Sure enough, that evening there were no sparks flying between us. But when Hannah and Dan went to bed, Shane shrugged.

‘Don’t worry about sleeping on the sofa, you can share my bed,’ he said.

 

So we ended up under the covers together. We were both adults, so I didn’t see why we couldn’t have a bit of fun.

The next morning, I assumed it would be something best forgotten about. But, Shane was really sweet. He made me a cuppa and gave me a kiss when I left.

I could tell he was different to most guys I’d met before. He knew how to treat a woman nicely. I dropped a few hints with Hannah that she should pass on my phone number.

Then Shane got in touch a few days later, and that was the start of our romance.

Sarah and son Reece
Sarah and son Reece

Within six months I’d fallen pregnant. I ended up moving in with Shane at his mum’s house. Then, just before Reece was born we found our own place in Buxton.

For the first few years, life was perfect. I couldn’t believe I’d been lucky enough to find the man of my dreams and start a family so quickly.

The only downside was Shane had to work so hard to keep us afloat financially.

 

He’d spend 12 hours a day as a supervisor at a plastics production factory, and often end up going in on the weekends too. Meanwhile, I’d be left at home caring for Reece alone.

It sparked some blazing rows.

‘I feel more like a single parent some days,’ I said one night, when Shane arrived home after another long shift.

‘I can’t help it. We need the money,’ he replied, clearly exhausted.

‘Well I also need a bit of support sometimes,’ I said, getting angry.

When the argument had simmered down I could see I was being unfair. Shane was doing his best, and I did appreciate how hard he worked for us.

But, within a few days the same old resentments would start rising again. Most days would end in some kind of a tiff. Our relationship was going downhill, fast.

 

Then, one night over dinner, with Reece in bed, we decided to talk like adults.

Shane with son Reece
Shane with son Reece

‘This is pulling us apart, and I don’t want that to happen,’ Shane said, reaching for my hand.

‘Me neither. What can we do to get things back on track?’ I asked.

‘I think we both need some space. How about I move into a flat nearby, just until we both clear our heads?’ Shane said.

He promised that we weren’t breaking up, and in fact this was a desperate bid to save our relationship.

I could see that he was right. We couldn’t go on as we were. So, a couple of weeks later Shane signed a short agreement on a flat just a mile down the road.

Within a month I knew we’d done the right thing.

Shane would still come to stay at home, or Reece and I would stay at the flat. But, it gave Shane a bit of space after a particularly hard day at work.

I began to find myself looking forward to spending time with Shane, instead of dreading another argument. It was just like the old days.

Then, one evening, Shane phoned me at home.

‘I just wanted to let you know I’m going out with some work friends tonight,’ he said. ‘But don’t worry, we’ll work through this. I love you.’

I didn’t resent him having an odd night out. Things had been so good between us that I was happy to go with the flow.

I told him to have fun then settled down in front of the telly after putting Reece to bed. Then, a few hours later, my mobile phone pinged.

I smiled when I saw Shane’s name on the screen. It made me feel special that he was thinking of me, even when he was out with his mates.

Shane
Shane

But when I opened up the message my smile dropped.

 

Shane had sent me a dirty picture. But, it wasn’t of him. It was a naked lady spreadeagled on a bed.

Why would he send me this? I thought.

Then, when I took a closer look my jaw dropped in horror. I recognised the bed covers, and the layout of the room looked awfully familiar too.

I realised that the photo had been taken in Shane’s flat.

This wasn’t just a silly joke with his mates. Shane was having an affair, and he’d accidentally sent me the evidence to prove it.

Furious, I dialled his number.

But when Shane answered, he was adamant nothing was going on.

‘I lent my mate the flat keys, he’s cheating on his girlfriend and he wanted somewhere to go,’ he said, slurring from a few whiskeys.

 

‘So how do you explain this picture?’ I said, demanding answers.

‘He sent it to me or something. And maybe somehow I sent it to you?’ he said, mumbling.

It was obvious I wasn’t going to get any sense out of him. He’d had too much to drink.

I went to bed but barely slept a wink, imagining the confrontation we’d have when he was sober.

I desperately wanted to believe Shane’s version of events. But, the story seemed too good to be true.

When Shane came home the next day, I grabbed his phone. I wanted to see the evidence for myself before listening to any more excuses.

Tears filled my eyes as I scrolled through snap after snap of the same girl, dolled up in different sets of underwear.

It was obvious the photos had been taken on different days.

 

‘I’ve got the proof, now tell me the truth,’ I said, begging Shane for answers.

He crumbled and admitted he had been having an affair. He promised me it was over though.

‘Well who is she?’ I said.

‘No-one. It’s my mate’s sister, Claire,’ he said, not even able to look me in the eyes. For the next few weeks the relationship limped on. The trust was gone though.

I decided to find out for myself whether Shane really had called off his affair.

Sarah and Reece now
Sarah and Reece now

But when I phoned his mate he was confused. He insisted he didn’t even have a sister called Claire, let alone a sister who was sleeping with Shane. Something wasn’t adding up.

Then, one morning I found an Ann Summers receipt stuffed down the side of the seat in our car. Someone had been shopping for sexy stockings just a few days earlier, and it certainly wasn’t me.

It shouldn’t have been Shane either. I looked at the date on the receipt and I clearly remembered he’d told me he’d gone straight to bed after work to sleep off a long shift.

 

I rooted around in the rubbish in the footwell for more evidence, and produced a parking ticket for town on that very same day.

‘What’s this about?’ I said, confronting Shane with the receipt.

‘Erm, I gave a mate a lift the other day. They must have dropped it,’ he said.

‘So how do you explain this?’ I said, shoving the parking ticket under the nose. No-one had dropped the receipt. Shane had been shopping that day and he was obviously lying to me about it.

He’d been treating his bit on the side to yet another set of undies.

Again Shane couldn’t apologise enough. In my heart I knew our relationship was over but I wasn’t going to call it off until I had all the answers.

The one bit of the puzzle I couldn’t solve was who Shane’s mystery lover was.

That’s until one afternoon when I was pushing my trolley around Morrisons.

 

Suddenly a swish of blonde hair caught my eye. Even though I could only see the woman from the back, I immediately recognised her from Shane’s sexy shots.

‘Excuse me love, do you know Shane?’ I asked, tapping her on the shoulder.

She turned to me and sheer panic shot across her face.

‘Sorry, no speak English,’ she said, stuttering. Then she scurried off.

I knew I’d busted her, and suddenly it made sense. Shane had mentioned a Polish girl from work a couple of times and the pieces all fell into place.

I dumped Shane, telling him he’d broken the trust.

We kept things civil for Reece’s sake. But, 18 months later there was still an undeniable spark between us and we ended up back together.

Now we’ve moved on and I’ve forgiven Shane. However, I’ll never forget the night he sent me a sexy photo of his mistress.

Shane, 43, said: ‘Although it is many years down the line, this still hurts Sarah deep down. I want to say how much I have regretted it since we got back together and I realised exactly how much I have broken her heart. I know that she will never forget but I am so truly happy that she forgave me. And at least now after all we have been through we have got each other and a son that we are both very proud of.”

Sarah was shocked when she uncovered the saucy photos but when she was reunited with Shane she decided to share her story with other women, to show you can get through betrayal. We helped Sarah sell her story to Take a Break. If you’ve thought about telling a betrayal story to the press, why not complete the form in the right and we’ll call you to explain how it works.

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Angela and Leon
Angela and Leon
When I met Leon he was top of the league but when I discovered he was playing away, I was forced to show him a red card…
By Angela Kavanagh, 30, from Crawley

Meeting Leon for a drink I couldn’t help but smile. He really was perfect. My friend had set us up a few weeks earlier, but I’d been hesitant.

‘What if he’s a player – on and off the field?’ I asked her. ‘He is a footballer, after all.’

At five years younger than me and a professional footballer, Leon and I were in completely different places in our lives.

But there was no denying we got on well and after a few dates, I couldn’t help but give in to his charm.

Leon was top of the league. He lived away in London for his job and I had a son from a previous relationship at home to care for, but he still made me feel special by whisking me away for romantic getaways.

 

And when I was curling up in front of the telly with a cuppa, Leon would send me messages telling me he was having an early night too.

Angela and Leon in Paris
Angela and Leon in Paris

He was so understanding and I knew he’d be an amazing dad – and a year later, in 2013, I made a happy announcement.

‘I’m pregnant,’ I blurted, and watched as Leon’s face broke into a broad grin. I was over the moon and couldn’t wait for us to be a little family.

That Christmas, I wanted to get my son a new phone but money was tight. ‘Let me buy it,’ Leon insisted. ‘It’s fine, honestly.’

We agreed that I’d give my little boy the new handset for Christmas and then keep the SIM card for if ever I needed it.

‘Thanks Leon, he’ll be dead chuffed. You’ve saved Christmas!’ I beamed, wrapping him up in a huge hug.

I was six months into my pregnancy when I decided to upgrade my mobile phone contract and remembered the spare SIM card Leon had given me.

Pulling the little card out of the drawer I’d stashed it in, I slotted it into my phone and watched as the phone screen lit up.

‘Oh no, what’s happening?’ I panicked as it notified me it was syncing devices. I tried to swipe the notification away but my phone locked.

Leon playing football
Leon playing football

I hope I haven’t messed up Leon’s account, I thought, as I managed to unlock the handset and watched as my phone returned to normal.

But just then, Leon’s phone bill flashed up on my screen. I was about to exit the document when I noticed something strange.

Leon had been ringing the same number, again and again, in the early hours of the morning. I didn’t recognise the number and I squirmed as I felt a niggling feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Something wasn’t right – and I was going to find out what.

Quickly, I punched the mystery number into Whatsapp and watched as a pretty young girl’s smile flashed up on the profile picture, revealing the identity of Leon’s late night caller.

I felt sick. Was my footballer playing away?

Turning detective, I scrolled through the rest of Leon’s phone bill and typed in the unknown numbers unto Whatsapp. Every single number was for another girl.

I felt the bile rise in my throat as I clicked on the profile pictures of the girls, linking their numbers to their Whatsapp, Facebook and Instagram accounts. Leon wasn’t even picky.

‘What’s going on, who are these girls?’ I rang Leon and demanded answers. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I cradled my burgeoning baby bump.

‘Umm, there was only three other girls,’ he whispered sheepishly. ‘I’m sorry.’

Only three? That was more than enough! I was disgusted. My top of the league boyfriend had just falling to the bottom of the tables.

I was heartbroken. It was almost too much to bear but my morbid curiosity got the better of me and I knew I needed to find out more.

 

As I rang the various girls that showed up on Leon’s phone bill I began to piece together the extent of his betrayal.

I was staggered. Every one of his floozies thought Leon was single and he’d been unfaithful right from the very start of relationship until now, while I was carrying his baby.

‘It’s over Leon,’ I told him as I showed him a red card. ‘I can’t do this any more.’

My family looked after me as I confided in them, but the truth was, I couldn’t forget Leon. I  couldn’t trust him but I still loved him and we had a baby on the way.

Angela sold her story to Take a Break
Angela sold her story to Take a Break

I needed his support now more than ever and even though he had scored an own goal, I decided to give our relationship another chance for the sake of our unborn child.

‘I’m so sorry,’ he begged. ‘Please, I will make things right with you.’

I didn’t want to be a single mum again and so, slowly I relented.

 

‘But you’re on a yellow card! Some things have to change around here,’ I warned him.

Leon was by my side when our son was born in June 2014 and he’s a doting dad. He couldn’t be more romantic and while I’ve agreed to stop digging into the past, Leon has promised to listen to me more and make more time for family life.

Now we’re engaged and planning our wedding for 2019. We’re moving on and are stronger than ever. But I’ll never forget the day I discovered my footballer fiance was playing away.

Leon says: I think I was a bit young and naive. I thought I could have my cake and eat it. I thought I could be a single man as well as be the committed relationship man as well. I was 21, so I was still quiet young and trying to play the field a little bit and trying to find myself. Obviously at the same time I wanted to be in a relationship as well. I’ve learnt my lesson, I try to listen more to her and pay attention to her needs.”

Angela was devastated when she found her footballer fiance playing away while she was pregnant. Thankfully, they were able to work through the betrayal and told their story to Take a Break to celebrate their reunion. If you want to sell a cheating story to the press, have a read of our ‘how to’ guide and fill in the form on the right. We’ll then contact you to discuss the process.

by -
Wendy and Andy
Wendy and Andy

 

We set off for fun in the sun. But would our blissful new life last?
By Wendy Stewart, 46, from Doncaster

 

I dipped my toe into the cooling blue pool, and sighed with happiness.

 

Scorching sunshine, peace and quiet, and a cocktail or two.

 

What more could a woman want?

 

But I wasn’t on holiday, this was my new life in Tenerife.

 

My husband Andy and I had always dreamed of owning a bar in our favourite holiday destination.

 

So, with our three children old enough to fend for themselves, we decided to take the plunge.

 

We packed up our home and said our goodbyes in 2011.

 

We weren’t sad to go though – we knew it wouldn’t be long before everyone would be visiting!

 

By January 2012 our bar was a roaring success.

 

Of course it had been hard work, but it proved well worth it.

Wendy and Andy with their bar staff
Wendy and Andy with their bar staff

So, one night Andy and I gave ourselves the night off.

 

We got dolled up for a drink in a neighbouring resort, at the Next Door Bar in the Malibu Park hotel.

 

“Go and get us another cocktail, love,” I asked Andy.

 

It was nice to be on the other side of the bar for a change!

 

Then, the compere for the evening came over to say hello.

 

“This is Martin, by the way” he said, introducing us to another expat.

 

Martin Leonard was a bit older than us, so we guessed he’d moved out for a new life in the sun too.

 

“I hear you two run a bar,” Martin said, pulling up a seat to our table.

 

Andy answered, proudly explaining how well our new venture was going.

 

Martin wasn’t impressed though.

 

“You must be selling drugs on the side to be making any money out of that place,” he scoffed.

 

I was offended. We’d worked so hard to make our bar a success.

 

“Of course not, the customers just like us,” Andy said, laughing the accusation off.

 

But Martin wouldn’t let it go. Used to dealing with nuisance drinkers, Andy firmly asked him to leave us to enjoy our evening.

 

Eventually he shuffled off to another table.

Martin Leonard in court
Martin Leonard in court

“What was that all about?” I turned to Andy, incredulous.

 

“No idea. I’m just popping to the loo anyway,” he said.

 

But Martin then followed Andy into the bathroom, dragging him into a scuffle.

The landlady had seen enough.

 

“I’ve had enough of you,” she said, pointing her finger squarely at Martin.

 

She threw him out, while we were left to continue our evening.

“I’m glad we’ve seen the back of him,” I said to Andy, as we sipped on our drinks.

Just 15 minutes later I was back up at the bar, ordering our last drinks of the night.

But my attention was grabbed by an agonised cry, coming from where I’d left Andy sitting.

“Andy!” I exclaimed, as I whirled round to see a horrific sight.

Martin was back, and he was swinging around two huge knives.

Weapons used
Weapons used

With a meat cleaver in one hand and a kitchen blade in the other, he raised his arm and slashed Andy across the forehead.

Without even thinking, I rushed over to pull Martin away.

 

“Get off him,” I yelled.

It was no good though. Martin was locked into a crazed rage.

All because he was jealous of the success of our bar!

I was gashed down the side of the head, almost severing my ear.

As I stumbled away, blood flooding down my top, the landlady dashed to our aid.

Martin sliced her hand too. It was a bloodbath.

In the fracas I was knocked out.

Wendys injuries
Wendys injuries

By the time I came round we were surrounded by police.

 

I lifted myself out of the puddle of blood.

“Where’s Andy?” I gasped.

Thankfully he was safe.

Another holidaymaker had managed to wrestle the knives away from Martin, throwing them behind the bar.

Then the police turned up, and arrested him.

We’d had a lucky escape.

I ended up with 21 stitches to save my ear, while Andy had 20 to repair the deep wound in his head.

Wendy sold her story to Take a Break
Wendy sold her story to Take a Break

As we healed at home, the one comfort was that Martin was in custody.

 

He was clearly dangerous!

We’ve waited a long time for justice, but earlier this month we were at Tenerife Criminal Court to see Martin Leonard, 65, sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in prison for three charges of causing injury.

We’re still enjoying life in the sun. The attack didn’t scare us off.

But we never guessed our dream Spanish paradise would turn into a bloodbath nightmare.

Wendy refused to let her attacker ruin her Tenerife dream but when she finally got justice, she wanted to speak out as a warning. We helped her sell her story to the biggest magazine in the UK, Take a Break, reaching a wide audience of readers.