One night my hubby came home when my daughter was visiting. They didn’t get on but I could never have imagined the horror that was about to unfold…
By Marlene Locke, 43, from Brisbane, Australia
‘Sherelle’s coming over, love,’ I told my husband Ray.
‘Again?’ he growled. ‘She was just here!’
Sherelle, 23, was my daughter, and she and Ray, 49, didn’t get along.
Things hadn’t always been sour between them. When Ray and I first got together in 2007, Sherelle thought he was a decent bloke.
Ray was funny and charming and, although he sometimes drank a bit too much, our relationship was mostly happy.
But after our wedding in 2008, Ray became controlling.
He took over our finances and shut me off from my friends and family.
When I was 12 weeks pregnant with our first baby, Ray’s anger bubbled over during an argument.
Suddenly he knocked me to the ground and kicked me in the stomach.
In total shock, I fled the house and drove to Sherelle’s. We went to the police station where I took out a domestic violence order against Ray.
Thankfully, my baby was unharmed.
I vowed to stay away from Ray, but he started calling, begging me to come back.
Eventually he wore me down and I moved back in with him.
Our baby, Zavannah, was born later that year and her brother Owen followed two years on.
Violence became a regular part of my life.
‘You’ve got to leave him,’ Sherelle would plead.
I wanted to, but I couldn’t see a way out. Ray controlled the finances and I’d never get enough money to leave with the kids.
When Sherelle came over that Sunday evening in February 2014, we settled down in front of the television and flicked through some catalogues.
At about 11.15pm I heard Ray come in from the garage. I expected him to go straight to bed as I knew he’d been drinking.
Instead, he went to the kitchen and started rifling through the drawers.
Sherelle pointed out something funny in her catalogue and we both burst out laughing.
Suddenly, Ray charged into the room, his face twisted with rage.
He ran straight to Sherelle and pinned her to the sofa.
‘Do you think this is funny?’ he screamed.
Just then, he struck her.
It looked like he’d punched her hard in the chest.
He staggered back from her and Sherelle looked at me, clutching her body.
That’s when I saw the blood. I realised Ray hadn’t punched her.
He’d stabbed her in the heart with a knife from the kitchen.
‘Help me!’ Sherelle choked.
Before I could react, Ray shoved me against the wall, holding me by the throat.
‘Mum, I’m bleeding!’ Sherelle howled.
‘Please, let me help her!’ I sobbed, but Ray kept his grip around my neck.
‘She deserves it,’ he said coldly.
For almost 10 minutes, he held me there, forcing me to listen as my daughter begged for help.
Finally, she went silent and Ray let me go.
I rushed over to my girl, but there was so much blood and she was very pale.
Ray paced about in circles as I frantically called Triple-0.
‘You’re going to jail!’ I screamed at him.
‘I don’t care,’ he replied. ‘It was worth it.’
When the police arrived, Ray tried to tell them I’d stabbed Sherelle.
Thankfully, they didn’t believe him and he was arrested while paramedics desperately tried to save her.
It was no use though.
My beautiful daughter and my best friend was gone.
I was wracked with grief, as well as guilt.
If I hadn’t let this evil man into our lives would she still be here?
Ray was charged with her murder and the assault on me.
In July this year, Raymond John Mead, 51, appeared at Brisbane Supreme Court and pleaded not guilty to murdering my daughter, Sherelle Locke.
He claimed it was an accident and that he’d slipped and fallen while holding the knife.
However, forensic experts all agreed there was no way an accidental fall could have driven the blade 27cms into her chest.
During the trial, the jury heard that Ray hated Sherelle and blamed her for our marriage problems.
I was shocked when one of our neighbours testified that weeks before the attack,
Ray had told him Sherelle was going to ‘get what’s coming to her’.
‘If I could stab Sherelle and get away with it, I would,’ he had told the neighbour.
It was sickening to watch Ray sit there, stony-faced and remorseless.
Thankfully, Ray was found guilty of murder, as well as one count of assault occasioning bodily harm.
He was sentenced to life in prison.
I’m glad that justice was served but nothing will bring my Sherelle back.
I will never be able to get that vision out of my head of her being killed before my eyes and not being able to help her.
But I want my story to be told as a warning to women in situations like mine.
If he threatens you, if he hurts you, don’t stay.
There is help out there to get you to a safe place.
I should have listened to my daughter.
A piece of my heart has been taken forever but I’ll never forget my beautiful girl.
Marlene lost a piece of her heart that night and she’ll never get over the tragic loss of her daughter, but she wanted to share her story as a tribute to Sherelle. We helped her sell her story to readers on the other side of the world, in Take a Break magazine. If you have a crime story to tell, fill in the form on the right and we’ll call you to explain how the process works.