I haven’t written in a while.
I’m not entirely sure why.
Perhaps because I haven’t felt the need to lay bare all my innermost thoughts.
Perhaps because life has just been ticking on.
I don’t know why.
Today however, I feel compelled to write by the news that the partner of the writer Helen Bailey has been found guilty of her murder. This news has shocked me to the core and it is so very sad that this lady, who thought she had found her happy ending, after the 2011 death of her husband while they were on holiday in Barbados, will be so tragically killed by the widower she had met through her grief, for what seems to be for financial gain.
I read Helen’s story thinking, there but for the grace of God go I…
Last week, I finally watched a TV drama I had recorded last year, called the Secret.
This is based on the true story of the deeply religious Irish dentist, Colin Howell, who in 1991, together with the married woman he was having an affair with, Hazel Stewart, another church member, conspired to kill both of their spouses, his wife Lesley, and mother of his four children, including a nine month old baby, and Trevor, the father of his lover’s two children, a boy and a girl.
They believed killing their spouses would allow them to live happily ever after.
They were wrong.
Colin and Hazel literally got away with murder as the police and coroners bought into their faked joint suicides for their spouses. Their sordid affair lasted a couple more years, before being ended by his lover. Such was her guilt after the deaths, that they would even have consensual sex with her gassed on his dentist’s chair, so that he could have his way with her, without her being consumed with guilt.
10 years after the murders, this dentist, confessed to his second wife, a mother of two, with whom he went on to have five more children, about the murders. She chose to keep quiet and went on to have four more children with this murderer, to add to the one child they had together at the time.
Nearly 20 years after the murders, Colin voluntarily confessed to the police after believing that God was punishing him following the death of his first son Matt, and being swindled out of around £350,000. He had previously had “signs” that had convinced him that God had forgiven him for the murders.
He had admitted being haunted by his wife calling the name of 5 year old Matt as he strangled her.
He also voluntarily confessed to sexually assaulting several patients while they were under anaesthetics.
He was sentenced to 21 years in prison after pleading guilty to the murders.
But for his confessions, these murders would never have been discovered.
His lover Hazel who pleaded not guilty, was later found guilty of both murders and sentenced to 18 years.
His second wife who had chosen to keep quiet about her murderous husband, escaped prosecution. She moved back to the US, where she was originally from.
Some men kill.
Some men kill their wives.
Women kill too.
And while I admit that this post might seem like possibly the biggest admission that I have made in this blog, I firmly believe that I could easily have joined the statistics of the many women (and men) who have been killed by their supposedly loving spouses or partners, who found the idea of murder, more palatable than divorce or merely ending a relationship.
As my marriage disintegrated in 2015, my ex husband would make countless comments about killing me.
I was distressed by these comments and he would say he was merely “joking”.
He said on three occasions that it was a shame I was on a diet as he was no longer cooking for me and therefore, could not poison me.
At the last minute, he changed travel plans on our last holiday over Easter 2015 to Milan, supposedly to work on our marriage when unbeknown to me, he was sending his lover £70 flowers and expensive chocolates. He chose to drive to the airport, instead of taking a taxi, and when I queried why, given as we would always take taxis to airports, he referred to a story about a man who had killed his wife by carefully crashing their car, having removed her seatbelt, just beforehand. He insisted he was joking.
His several “jokes” about killing me and how my death would be easier than divorce, were such that before travelling to Milan, I had written a long email to my sister referencing all his comments and the dates they were made, and giving her our travel details, something I had never done before. I wrote that if anything happened to me in Milan, she should hand my email over to the police.
I had felt very unsafe with this man and I was resolved, like I said in that email, that after Milan, I would have to decide whether my marriage was worth saving given all the “jokes” about my death.
The seriousness of my email to my sister was such that she expected me to be checking in with my family frequently, during that trip. On one occasion when she hadn’t heard from me for a few hours, because I was out and about and didn’t have internet or whatsapp access, she had been worried enough to have rung my hotel several times, leaving messages for me to make urgent contact, as well as shared her concerns with another sister.
In Milan, my ex husband would “joke” about pushing me from the top of the Duomo Cathedral. He refused to climb to the top on his own, when I was unable to explore with him which was unusual as he wouldn’t normally object to exploring on his own.
Perhaps more telling was the one night in Milan, when I was violently sick all night, throwing up and with serious diarrhoea, while my ex husband slept very peacefully beside me. This happened the only time I had eaten or drunk anything bought solely by my ex in my absence. That night, he had brought some latte back to the hotel for both of us and yet, I was the only one who had been so violently ill.
I have no doubt whatsoever that my ex had tried to poison me on that day.
As our marriage crumbled during that holiday, my ex insisted on taking me out shopping, going from street to street, all very carefully mapped out by him.
It was a most bizarre day when he insisted on buying anything I as much as looked at. Several handbags including an expensive Prada bag, several sandals and shoes including Jimmy Choo shoes, expensive Jo Malone perfumes, expensive Acqua di Parma toiletries and all sorts of unneeded vulgar spending.
I have no doubt whatsoever as I took photos of the ridiculous shopping bags through my tears, that these were my ex’s defence of how could I have killed my wife? I love my wife. Can’t you see all the things that I bought her?
Four days after our return from Milan, on a Sunday, my ex insisted that Sunday morning on visiting the seaside, instead of a hike he had planned. He “joked” several times about pushing me from the pier into the sea to drown given that I can’t really swim.
After he left our former home, I would find a knife inside my ex husband’s drawer on his side of the beside table, of the bed we slept together.
When I asked him what a knife was doing inside his bedside table, and sent him a picture of the knife, he lied and insisted that he had never had a knife in the drawer that he used exclusively at the time.
This is a long post with all sorts of serious comments but my aim isn’t to depress myself and all my readers.
I describe my ex husband as “evil”. That ugly word is not a word I use lightly.
I do not believe that this man has always been “evil”.
I still believe that he went through and might still be going through, some sort of mental breakdown.
But the person who I strongly believed wanted to kill me and who did all the heartbreaking things during our divorce is an “evil” man capable of anything, including cold blooded murder.
I am not without blame as I should have gotten him out of my life the very first time he “joked” about killing me, let alone the countless references and the seemingly well thought out scenariors he painted, as to how he might have killed me.
I should have reported his comments immediately to the police.
I should have immediately gone to the police and been tested on return to the UK or even in Milan, on the night I firmly believe he tried to poison me.
But to be fair to myself, at the time, I was not aware of the lengths this man could go through, or just how evil, he truly is/was.
When I read these stories of men and women, who haven’t survived being murdered by their nearest, closest and most trusted spouses, I thank God that I came out of my marriage with my life.
I thank God that my mum and siblings do not have to spend their lives mourning me and wondering whether my death was really an accident, as described, or murder.
I thank God for the gift of life.
May Helen and all the men and women like her, murdered by their spouses and partners, rest in perfect peace.
This is still a diet blog, and as such, I should really write about my diet.
This year has been full of ups and downs on the diet front but right now, I am on it. I’m not stressing about the fact that I wasn’t on it last week.
I fail, I restart and I keep going.