Fashion

My boyfriend tried to murder me — I felt relieved when he killed himself – The Sun

Gemma Muncaster, 36, is an independent sales representative for Avon and lives in Hetton-le-hole, Sunderland, with her sons, Strand, 11, and Davis, nine.

“Lying on the kitchen floor, I felt the blade at my throat. My then-boyfriend Jack* sat on top of me clutching a bread knife. As he hissed that he could kill me, my kids, who were with their dad, flashed through my mind. With all my strength I pushed him off, ran to my bedroom and hit my panic button, sending a signal to the police.

I met Jack, then 39 and a joiner, on social media in August 2012, nine months after my seven-year marriage ended. He was handsome and funny, and things moved quickly. He was in constant contact, and if I didn’t reply at once he’d want to know who I was with.

I thought he was being attentive. He was good with my sons Strand and Davis, who were three and one at the time, and within six months we’d moved in together. ack urged me to give up my tanning business, saying he earned enough to support us. Wanting to please him, I agreed.

I also deleted Facebook as he’d accuse me of ignoring him when I was on it, started sleeping naked as he complained about my pyjamas and began wearing looser clothes when he commented on my knicker line, accusing me of wanting attention.

I lived in fear of the next row, while pretending everything was fine on the outside. In contrast to how he treated me, he was a caring stepdad. Jack was first violent towards me in April 2013 when the boys were at their dad’s. Because his dinner had onions in it, he threw his plate at the wall and grabbed me, causing me to hit my head off the door.

I ran straight to my mum Penny, 55, who lived nearby. She told me to leave him, so the next morning I moved out while Jack was at work. I decided not to call the police as I just wanted to forget about it.

With no contact between us, a few weeks later I started a new job as a sales representative with Avon and rented a house with my sons. It was still in the same area as I wanted to be close to my family, but I was hopeful it was all over. But then two months later I spotted Jack in a bar.

Terrified, I left, but he must have seen me as I woke early the next morning to missed calls from him and a video message of him self-harming and ranting that I’d been with other men.

I dialled 999 and called his parents before rushing to his house. I arrived as he was put in an ambulance and he spent a night in hospital having his wounds stitched. Within days he was calling me, begging for another chance. Wracked with guilt, I agreed.

Jack knew my dad had suffered with manic depression and committed suicide when I was 17, and he played on it by saying he couldn’t go on without me. Over the next five months, though, there was no violence, so I moved back in. I was sure he wouldn’t hurt my sons. My family were worried, but I felt I had to make it work in case Jack killed himself.

Then, in December 2013, Jack tried to strangle me after accusing me of flirting with other men. I called the police, praying the children who were asleep in bed wouldn’t hear. He let me go and when the police arrived minutes later, he was arrested, released on bail and ordered to stay away from me.

A few days later, his friend phoned to say Jack had driven his car off the road and was in hospital. Social services got involved and I knew I’d lose my kids if I got back with him. Police installed a panic button in my home, but once Jack was discharged he kept turning up at my house.

In February 2014 I relented and agreed to talk to him – his hold over me was still powerful. He started an argument about other men and attacked me with a bread knife, bolting when I pressed the panic button. The police arrived and took me to a friend’s.

In the morning, I saw a post on Facebook that Jack had killed himself. I felt numb, then relieved, but it took months of counselling to accept it wasn’t my fault. I learned about coercive control and realised he’d made me believe I was responsible for his happiness.

In February 2016 I met Gary, 39, a team leader at a car factory, online. It wasn’t easy trusting again, but he’s helping me heal. I now give talks about coercive control to help other women and have turned my trauma into something good.”

BTW

On average, the police in England and Wales receive over 100 calls relating to domestic abuse every hour.**

Last year, 2 million adults aged 16 to 59 experienced domestic abuse.***

95% of coercive control victims are women.†

For help, call Women’s Aid on 0808 2000 247.

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