I was pregnant with twins when my front door burst open and a nightmare unfolded…
By Megan Wilcox, 19, from Swanley, Kent
Perched on the sofa, I rubbed my hand over my belly protectively. ‘I don’t want to get involved,’ I told my boyfriend George, 23. ‘Especially not in my condition. But I said Carly* could stay in our room if she wanted a break.’
Carly, our neighbour, lived in the room upstairs in the B&B we shared. After a tiff with her boyfriend she’d asked if she could crash at my place.
I was eight weeks pregnant with twins and didn’t need the hassle, so when she’d gone back upstairs with him and didn’t come back all night, I assumed they’d worked things out.
‘Carly,’ I made my way upstairs the following morning. ‘I couldn’t nick a fag, could I?’ But just then, I caught my breath. Carly’s door was swinging off its hinges. It had been kicked in – and there was no sign of Carly.
‘Where are you? Are you ok?’ I picked up the phone and called her frantically.
But Carly didn’t seem surprised. ‘Just call me when you get in, we’ll talk later,’ she said, before hanging up.
I went out for the day and when I came home a few hours later, I gave Carly a call, just as I’d promised.
‘I’m home, but George and I have plans. We’re going out for dinner soon,’ I told her.
The pair of us were getting ready for our night out when, ten minutes later, our peace was shattered and our door came crashing in.
‘What’s going on?’ I yelled as I saw three pairs of legs kicking their way in. Three black men wielding guns stormed into our room and began screaming at us.
One of them, the ringleader who the others called Skips, I recognised as Carly’s boyfriend. ‘Where’s my money?’ he snarled, waving his gun menacingly in my face.
‘I don’t know what you’re talking about,’ I blustered, holding my hands up and shuffling back in the sofa.
‘My £50,000,’ he went on. ‘Where is it? You must have it! Tell me… now!’
But I had no clue what he was talking about. I certainly didn’t know anything about the £50,000 he thought I’d stolen from him.
‘Please, I’m pregnant,’ I pleaded, clutching my belly. ‘I honestly have no idea what you’re talking about. Please let us go.’
I saw a flicker of evil in Skips’ eyes as he walked across the room and plugged our iron in, pulling the extension lead closer to me.
‘I don’t care,’ he hissed. ‘You’ve got 15 minutes to find my money.’
Sobbing, I realised I’d wet myself in terror. But Skips and his gang weren’t taking no for an answer.
‘Do you think I’m messing around?’ he spat, as I shook my head furiously. ‘Every time you lie to me that you haven’t got my money, I’m going to hurt you with this,’ he said, holding up the red hot iron.
And with that, he plunged the iron onto my chest; pushing it into my skin again and again as I denied knowing where his £50,000 was.
Adrenaline coursed through my veins and although the attacks stung, I could barely feel the pain. But I recoiled in disgust when the stench of my own burning flesh hit my nostrils. I could almost taste it.
‘Please no,’ I cried. ‘I’m going to be sick!’ And then I threw up all over the floor.
‘Leave her alone!’ George cried, launching himself at Skips in a desperate bid to protect me. ‘Get back,’ he yelled, thrusting the iron in his face.
I watched as George collapsed in agony, powerless to help me. ‘Please, just leave us alone, we haven’t done anything,’ I begged. But just then, one of the gang sprayed bleach in my face, stinging my eyes.
‘You’re coming with us,’ Skips said, grabbing me by the arm and bundling me outside. ‘You – stay there,’ he snapped at George. ‘And don’t call the police – or else.’
The gang hurled me into the boot of the car and I heard the screech of the tyres as we pulled away and sped off into the night.
Cowering in terror, we drove for what felt like an eternity. Finally, the boot opened and as my eyes blinked into the darkness I realised we were at a row of dilapidated garages. It was an execution.
I desperately looked around me, panicking. I could just about make out the main road and I saw a red bus trundle past.
He wouldn’t shoot me here… would he?
I was a dead woman walking, so in that moment, I figured I had nothing to lose. Without thinking, I collapsed on the floor.
‘My babies,’ I cried out, clutching my belly as I faked my labour. ‘My babies… they’re coming,’ I gasped.
I looked down at the wet patch on my trousers from my accident earlier. ‘Look, my waters have broken,’ I lied. ‘They’re coming now!’
But Skips wasn’t convined. ‘Get up,’ he hissed, pushing his gun into my back. ‘Get up now, or I’ll shoot you.’
Just then, an old lady came pottering past. ‘Are you alright dear?’ she asked. ‘How far gone are you?’
Desperate to keep her talking, I began telling her all about my pregnancy. A bit of a crowd had gathered and the other two men in the gang had begun inching away.
Before I knew it, a first response car pulled up alongside us. A paramedic pulled me up and sat me on the edge of the car boot.
‘You’re going to have a heart attack if you don’t calm down,’ he said, testing my heartbeat. ‘We’re going to have to get you to hospital.’
An ambulance was called as back-up but Skips put his arm around me, pretending we were just having a lovers’ tiff.
‘Give me a ring when you get to hospital, yeah?’ he said, as I was loaded into the ambulance.
‘Ok,’ I replied, going along with his story. I just wanted to get away, anywhere, away from Skips and his gun-toting gang.
As soon as the doors were shut and the ambulance pulled away, the floodgates opened. ‘I’ve been kidnapped and burnt with an iron,’ I rambled, pulling up my top to reveal my burns.
The paramedics must have thought I was mad but I wouldn’t let it drop. ‘Please, I’m telling the truth, someone needs to call the police,’ I begged when I arrived at hospital.
Ten minutes later, armed police swarmed around my hospital ward. My burns were treated and then I was taken to a nearby hotel for police protection while they hunted down my attackers.
‘We need to take you back into hospital, for an emergency scan,’ an officer told me as they prepared to take me back to hospital.
I was terrified, even under police protection, that Skips and his cronies would track me down and kill me. My heart was beating nineteen to the dozen.
But when I reached hospital, I felt like my heart was breaking.
‘I’m so sorry Megan, but you’ve lost one of your twins. We can only find one heartbeat… he’s gone. I’m sorry.’
The stress of my traumatic ordeal had cost me one of my precious babies. I was devastated – but more determined than ever to get justice.
Police caught up with Skips and the other two men after a couple of days and I told officers everything.
I was eight months pregnant when I stood up in the Old Bailey and testified against my brutal attackers.
They were convicted of GBH with intent, kidnap, false imprisonment and possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life and jailed for over 50 years between them.
My son, Mitchell, was born weeks later and he’s now a bubbly one-year-old, blissfully unaware of the trauma that claimed his twin.
I’m still haunted by that hellish night and developed PTSD as a result of the attack. I still look over my shoulder when I go out, even now.
I’m just glad those monsters are behind bars, where they belong. As far as I’m concerned, they can throw away the key,
*Carly’s name has been changed