When I met David, I thought I’d found true love. But, instead I found myself thrust into a living hell at the mercy of a monster..
By Catherine Byrne, 54, from Glasgow
As the train pulled into the station, the butterflies in my stomach fluttered.
He’ll be stepping onto the platform any second now.
But when I saw David, 54, alight the carriage, I sighed. He was definitely not my type. I’d got this wrong.
We’d come across each other online and I’d eventually agreed to let him take me out for a coffee.
I’d been with my husband for 28 years before we split so I was shy about finding love again. But after a couple of days of messaging David, I decided to take the plunge.
What was the worst that could happen?
I didn’t fancy him but I told myself there was no harm in having a chat.
‘You have such a lovely smile and nice eyes,’ he told me over a hot drink that day last January.
I blushed as I laughed it off.
‘You should learn to take a compliment,’ he smiled, gazing at me.
I couldn’t deny that I was flattered.
We got on so well that we spent a whole afternoon swapping stories. David was so easy to open up to. After being so reluctant to settle down again it seemed that I’d found the perfect man to bring me out of my shell.
David was so kind, charming and warm that he completely won me over.
We agreed on a second date and soon we were an item. I was so happy and the first couple of months were bliss. I was no longer lonely.
Then one day he took me in his arms and looked me straight in the eyes. ‘You are all mine,’ he whispered. I’d never felt so loved.
But a couple of months later, in March last year, David’s behaviour began to change.
One night we were out at a charity do and I was saying hello to people when I noticed David shift his chair so that he could have a better view of me. I got a strange feeling that he didn’t approve of me socialising.
Then, after another night out, we were returning home in a taxi when I started talking to the driver.
David turned on me as soon as we got to my doorstep.
‘Get in the house!’ He screamed at me. ‘Now!’
I cowered in fear. I didn’t understand what I had done wrong.
The next day when he had calmed down I confronted him. I wasn’t a doormat.
‘I’ve had enough of this,’ I told him. ‘You’re too dominant for me and I’m scared of where this is going.’
I inhaled a deep breath. ‘I don’t think this is going to work.’
David looked crestfallen. ‘You know I’d never touch you,’ he promised. ‘I’ll never lose my temper again – I promise.’
I looked at his big, sad eyes. The truth was I believed him. So I decided to give him another chance.
Gradually however, David’s controlling streak only grew worse.
He even started confiscating my mobile from me at night to check who I had been speaking to. I was becoming increasingly scared of my boyfriend.
Then one morning as I lay half sleeping I heard David get up and leave for work.
Later, on hearing the front door open, I was about to roll over when I suddenly smelled the unmistakable aroma of David’s aftershave. He’s in the room.
Terrified, I called my dog’s name. The smell disappeared.
‘I had a dream you were in the house this morning,’ I said to him later on, testing the waters.
‘I came back to give you a kiss,’ he said. ‘But you looked so peaceful I decided to let you be.’
Rubbish! David had come back to check on me. He was convinced I was cheating.
But I had no proof of course, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt.
Then one sunny day in July, David exploded at the kitchen sink.
‘You’ve been posting silly pictures of me on Facebook and now people are laughing at me,’ he growled.
I had no idea what he was talking about.
‘I’m sick of this, David,’ I cried. ‘I’m sick of your made-up stories.’
He whirled around to stare at me. I’ll never forget the crazed look in David’s eyes and my blood ran cold when I saw he was holding a kitchen knife in his hand.
When he began brandishing it, waving the blade threateningly in the air, I backed away from the kitchen table.
Terrified for my life I stumbled out of the house, running out of the patio doors and into the garden, where concerned neighbours consoled me.
The police were called and David was charged with breach of the peace. In December he was sentenced to 300 hours’ community service.
I finally found the courage to call time on our relationship then. I was petrified of him. He was supposed to love and protect me, not frighten the living daylights out of me.
I tried best to get on with my life but David was never faraway.
Then one night in January this year I was enjoying a night at the pub with my friends when David appeared. ‘I saw you kissing that man beside you,’ he snarled.
I laughed. The ‘man’ was 26 and young enough to be my son.
‘Don’t be ridiculous,’ I told him. ‘He’s a boy.’
I wanted to enjoy a good night – I didn’t have time for his nonsense.
Later, I even grabbed the microphone to sing a little karaoke. My favourite song is Stereophonics’ Indian Summer and I wanted to belt it out.
I was having the time of my life but mid-song, David emerged from the crowd and slowly approached me.
He was so calm that I had no idea that I was in grave trouble.
Before I knew it, his face was pressed up against mine and I felt his teeth sinking down into my lip. The pain was indescribable. I’ve never felt anything like it.
David’s teeth were locked into my lower lip – I couldn’t even push him away in case it made it worse.
I could only hold gently onto his arms to try and make him get off me. No one rushed to my aid as everyone thought he was kissing me – but it felt like the kiss of death.
After what seemed like an eternity, he eventually let me go. I immediately brought my hand to my lip but when I pulled it away, the security staff looked shocked.
‘He bit my lip!’ I screamed. ‘He bit my lip!’
Blood poured down my face as I stood frozen in terror.
David fled the scene and quickly the police and paramedics were in attendance. I was in agony.
I didn’t realise the full extent of my injuries until I saw the look on an officer’s face. ‘Is it bad?’ I asked, trembling. ‘It’s bad,’ he said. ‘Your lip is missing.’ I was distraught.
Police later found my lip on the dancefloor. David had spat it out.
I was rushed into surgery where doctors operated on me twice. They rebuilt my lip using tissue from my mouth, but I couldn’t bring myself to look in the mirror for three weeks.
When I finally did, I couldn’t recognise the face that looked back at me. I was horrified.
What had he done to me?
I’m still dealing with the after effects of the savage attack. I struggle to pronounce S and V and my mouth is too small for my face. I also suffer numbness which means I dribble. It’s embarrassing.
I worry that I’ll end up without a lip because it’s slowly disappearing. He’s completely destroyed my mouth.
In May this year, that monster was jailed for 27 months. The judge also placed him on a non-harassment order for three years to stop the brute from contacting me or even attempting to come near me.
It’s of little comfort though. I’ve been through too much.
Even though David is behind bars I still can’t walk down the road without looking over my shoulder. I can’t even go to sleep without checking the wardrobe and under the bed.
I dread the day he gets out. I just know that he’ll come back. He’s already disfigured me for life. What else is he capable of? He’s an animal.
I still can’t believe I lost my lip – and my looks – for dumping David.
As told to Helen O’Brien Google