When Franky’s sister Mary started a relationship with violent Dean, she knew he spelled trouble. But despite Franky’s best efforts, Dean made sure Mary would never escape…
As told to Helen O’Brien Google
Growing up, me and my big sister Mary couldn’t have been closer. By the time I was 13 we’d lost both our mum and dad, but aged 18 Mary stepped up and took care of me and our four younger siblings.
Even when we grew up, getting married and having children of our own, we always stayed in touch.
But after her marriage broke down, life got tough for Mary.
She’d had her leg amputated when she was just 13, and never got over that.
With a failed marriage and two young boys, she was struggling.
Haunted by depression, she started drinking. And then in just two months, two of our brothers died.
Mary was at her lowest ebb when she started a relationship with Dean Williams – a controlling, menacing alcoholic.
When I visited and saw her battered and bruised body, Mary confided that he hurt her.
I begged her to leave but he had her trapped, emotionally.
Soon I ended up taking in her two sons, who I cared for as well as my five own children.
But we never gave up on Mary – time after time I’d drop everything to travel from Wales to Kent, just to book her into women’s refuges and hostels.
But Williams would always find her and lure her back to him.
It was January 2005 when Mary’s life seemed to have turned a corner.
Williams had beaten her with a metal bar, but this time she’d gone to police, made a statement, and he’d been arrested.
Mary rang me to tell me, so proud that she was back on the right track.
I told her how happy I was for her, and that I’d see her soon. But I never did.
Just days later the police were on my doorstep.
I knew instantly that monster had killed Mary.
They broke the news that Williams had strangled her, then spent all night with her body before calling the police.
Having to tell her sons that their mum wasn’t coming back was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
In October that year, Williams was found guilty of her murder and jailed for life.
As I watched him being led down to the cells I thought the nightmare was finally over and we could start grieving.
But in 2012 the police phoned out of the blue. Williams was appealing the conviction – he claimed years of drinking had given him brain damage, so it wasn’t his fault.
Earlier this month he went on trial again.
Again, I sat through every day of evidence. Hearing how he’d hide Mary’s false leg to keep her in the flat, and how he battered her over and over again broke my heart.
When the jury came back with a second guilty verdict, the relief I felt was immense.
Williams will never be able to hurt another woman.
Now I want to warn other women in violent relationships, don’t be my sister Mary. Get out while you can.
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