I was looking forward to meeting Wayne for a quiet drink. But that night, my life changed forever…
By Bethany Percival, 22, from Whitehaven, Cumbria
As I pulled up a chair at the hotel bar, I smiled at Wayne who was sitting next to me. ‘It’s so nice to finally meet you,’ I said.
Wayne and I had connected on Facebook through mutual friends, and had been chatting online for a while.
We clicked instantly and after swapping friendly messages, we finally agreed to meet face to face.
We got on in person just as easily as we did online but although some of our messages had turned flirty, I didn’t have any feelings for Wayne. I was clear I just liked him as a friend.
‘I live with my nan, to be honest it’s just nice to get out of the house,’ I told Wayne as I sipped my drink.
Wayne grinned at me. ‘Let’s make this night a bit more interesting then!’ he said, putting down his pint. ‘What do you mean, interesting?’ I asked, a sinking feeling forming in the pit of my stomach.
Wayne looked at me with a cheeky glint in his eye. ‘You know, the speed. Amphetamines. Did you get it?’
Sheepishly, I looked at my handbag. Wayne had asked me to bring some speed for him and, desperate not to disappoint him, I’d gone along with it.
‘I don’t know about this…’ I said, shaking my head. I wasn’t into the drug scene at all, I never touched them, but I hadn’t wanted to let Wayne down on our first meeting.
‘Let’s go up to my room,’ Wayne beckoned, draining the rest of his pint. ‘Ok, but no funny business!’ I joked.
I liked Wayne and we were having a good time, but this was the first time we’d met. I didn’t want him getting the wrong idea.
Handing him the drugs, I felt sick. I knew instantly it had been a mistake to bring them.
‘I don’t want any,’ I said to Wayne, refusing the drugs. I didn’t want to take them, I felt unwell as it was. ‘You go ahead though.’
After Wayne had popped some pills and the night drew to a close, we settled down with a drink and flicked Jeremy Kyle on the telly. Finally, I began to relax.
‘You sure you don’t want some?’ Wayne said, offering me the speed as he sat down on the hotel bed. ‘No thanks,’ I declined, shaking my head.
I began to feel a bit uneasy then. Wayne knew I didn’t want to take them, so why did he keep asking?
We chatted with the TV on in the background until 5am, when I started thinking about making a move.
I was getting tired and Wayne’s behaviour had suddenly changed. It was like a switch had been flicked and when he suggested we have sex, I began to feel really unsafe.
‘No, I don’t want to,’ I refused, as I got up and prepared to leave. I knew I had to get out of that room but just then, Wayne launched himself at me.
Grabbing my throat with both hands, he pinned me up against the wall. ‘Stop! Let go,’ I tried to cry as I gasped for breath.
When Wayne’s grip loosened, I fell to the floor. But my ordeal wasn’t over. As I cowered, defenceless on the hotel room carpet, he beat me and tore at my clothes.
‘Get off me!’ I cried out as loud as I could. Naked, bloodied and bruised I was helpless, but I refused to give in without a fight.
Frantic, I scrambled for the door but every time I managed to break free, Wayne would simply drag me back and continue his assault.
I realised it was part of his plan – he was torturing me.
For three agonising hours, I endured his brutal attack. When Wayne smashed a perfume bottle in my face I felt myself slipping into unconsciousness, but I fought to stay alive.
‘Help! Please, somebody help me!’ I screamed, as loud as I could. I tried to fight back, I even tried smashing a bottle on him too, but Wayne just laughed maniacally.
It was no use, he was just too strong. Wayne was a man possessed and I honestly believed he was going to kill me.
So when he leapt off me, and doused himself with a bottle of Jack Daniels, before getting out a lighter, I panicked.
I watched in horror as a sick smirk spread across his face.
He was going to burn us alive.
‘No!’ I cried, grabbing the lighter and wrestling it off him. I tried to scramble away but as Wayne resumed his savage attack, I knew I couldn’t hold on much longer.
It was too much. My body couldn’t take it anymore and as I drifted in and out of consciousness, I felt my life ebbing away…
Suddenly, the hotel door flew open. ‘Get off her!’ shouted the hotel manager as he tore Wayne off me.
I was so badly beaten I could barely move but I dared to hope then I might escape from the room alive.
But Wayne threw the manager against the wall before raining down blow after brutal blow. As I watched the beaten manager crawl away, leaving me alone in the room with Wayne, I felt my hopes fade.
No one was going to rescue me… I was going to die at the hands of this monster.
Closing my eyes, I couldn’t bear the pain any longer. But just then, I heard a scuffle and I realised Wayne had got off me.
The hotel manager had come back for me – and this time, he’d brought back up. Running outside, he’d shouted over the road to a group of community workers to help.
‘Get him down!’ one of them yelled as my six saviours wrestled Wayne to the floor, before restraining him with cable ties as they waited for the emergency services to arrive.
Soon, I was bundled into an ambulance and rushed to hospital. ‘Your injuries are so severe and extensive, we’re transferring you to a bigger hospital,’ a doctor told me, as I was loaded back onto a stretcher.
I was terrified as medics later explained I had a broken nose, cheekbones and eye socket, along with serious internal bleeding.
It was a few days before I felt well enough to tell the police everything. I felt utterly broken after what I’d been through. I’d always been confident and optimistic, but now the world scared me.
Slowly but surely, thanks to the support of my wonderful friends and family, I began to build my strength up.
I was a mess – but I was alive. I’d survived and I realised I couldn’t let Wayne ruin the rest of my life.
Finally, in November 2015, Wayne stood trial for his horrific crimes. As the court heard his reasons for the vicious attack, it became clear he really was a madman.
Wayne claimed that God spoke to him through Jeremy Kyle, instructing him to free my soul from my body.
I was stunned. Jeremy Kyle had been on TV at the time of the attack and Wayne believed Kyle wanted him to kill me. Crazy.
Wayne was sentenced to life with a minimum of four years for attempted murder.
It was a relief and with Wayne behind bars, I became even more determined to move on. My emotional scars run deep but since meeting my new partner, Jed, I’m stronger than ever.
I’ve just found out we’re expecting our first baby, and I couldn’t be more excited to be a mum.
I’m forever grateful to those men for saving me – they’re my angels. If they hadn’t stormed the room when they did, it doesn’t bear thinking about what could have happened.
Now, after some extensive eye surgery I’m fully healed and feeling like myself again. I won’t let that madman destroy my life but I still can’t believe Jeremy Kyle very nearly ended it.