Kerry Griffiths, from Wrexham, got the shock of her life when she woke to find her knife wielding ex standing at the bottom of her bed. Here the 25-year-old explains the terrifying 24 hours that followed….
Having not long broken up with my ex Mark, 30, I wasn’t looking for a relationship. We had a daughter together, Phoebe, then 10 months, but had grown apart. ‘I’m off men,’ I told friends.
That didn’t stop Nicholas Hughes, 28, from messaging me on Facebook. We had a few mutual friends and he lived in the same town.
Fancy a drink? he asked. I wasn’t interested, but Nicholas was persistent. Weeks on, in March 2015, I was so fed up with his badgering, I relented. A few nights later, Nicholas and I chatted over drinks.
‘You’re gorgeous,’ he winked. He was so charming I found myself flirting back. I liked Nicholas, but still felt it was too soon for anything serious.
Then a week on he turned up at my place with a suitcase full of clothes. ‘I’m moving in,’ he grinned, cheekily.
‘I don’t think so,’ I laughed. But Nicholas made excuses about his suitcase being too heavy to take home. So I agreed to let him stay a couple of days. It quickly turned into weeks.
Over time my feelings for Nicholas grew though. Then in April I found out I was pregnant. It was a huge surprise, but we were both happy. ‘I can’t wait to be a dad,’ Nicholas beamed.
But as time went on he started causing arguments. ‘You’re seeing other men,’ he’d accuse me. It was ridiculous and I told him as much.
Though whenever I came home from a night out he’d insist on checking my knickers for signs I’d had sex. ‘You’re unbelievable,’ I’d argue. I desperately wanted to end things but he was so controlling, he wouldn’t let me.
Then in May, I was chatting to a friend on Skype and she invited me to Alton Towers. ‘Sounds fun,’ I told her. Nicholas overheard and hit the roof.
‘You’re not going anywhere,’ he shouted. We started arguing and I forgot my mate was still online. Suddenly Nicholas lifted up the bed I was lying on and threw me to the floor. Then he started pushing and throwing me about.
‘Stop it!’ I shouted, terrified. My mate must’ve heard and phoned the police. Moments later a patrol car arrived and Nicholas was arrested.
I was so shaken by what’d happened, I locked myself in the house, sobbing. Days later I had terrible stomach pains and when I went to hospital I was dealt a devastating blow.
‘You’ve lost your baby,’ a nurse told me, gently. I was distraught. The nurse explained it was just one of those tragic things, but I believed the stress of Nicholas’ attack had triggered it. ‘I hate him,’ I cried to friends.
Nicholas was remanded in custody, then in June he was released and placed on a community order. That same day he came to my house with a bunch of flowers.
‘I don’t know what came over me,’ he pleaded. My body was still bruised and sore, I couldn’t even look at him.
‘You disgust me,’ I told him. Undeterred, he began sending me abusive messages on Facebook.
He bombarded me with calls too.
Ignoring him, I reasoned he’d get fed up and leave me alone soon. Days on I put Phoebe to bed, then had an early night myself. But at 3am, I woke to the blinds at my bedroom window twitching.
Still half asleep, as I opened my eyes and could make out a figure at the bottom of my bed.
My heart jumped. Nicholas!
He must’ve climbed through an open window and was holding a knife from my kitchen. ‘You’ve got someone here, I know you have,’ he spat.
‘Get out!’ I shouted, shaking with fright. Raging, Nicholas pulled me from the bed and threw me to the floor.
He’s going to kill me, I thought. Phoebe was in her bedroom, I was terrified he’d hurt her too. Desperate not to provoke him, I tried not to cry as Nicholas grabbed me and put me in a headlock.
Then he put his hands around my throat and threatened to hurt me. It seemed to go on for hours. I knew if I was to ever get out alive, I wanted Nicholas to pay. I needed evidence though…
So when Nicholas released me and turned away, I lunged for my phone and loaded the camera to video him holding the knife. But he was quick on my heels and snatched it from me.
Instead of switching it off though, he started recording himself shouting and swearing. ‘Just let me go,’ I begged.
Though he refused, thankfully Nicholas let me check on Phoebe, but followed me with the knife. Having found my keys, he’d locked us in and I wondered if we’d make it out alive.
But, after nearly 24 hours, he got in the shower. Seeing my chance, I found the keys under my bed, grabbed Phoebe and fled. My friend lived on the same road, so I banged on her door, sobbing.
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‘What on earth?’ she gasped, seeing the state I was in. She called the police and they arrested Nicholas.
He denied everything initially, claimed we were still in a relationship. Then I remembered the video footage on my phone and showed the police.
Finally, in November 2015, Nicholas Hughes appeared at Mold Crown Court. He admitted harassment, putting me in fear of violence by phoning me, attending my home address, threatening me with a knife and assaulting me.
He was sentenced to 21 months in prison and an additional consecutive month for the earlier assault. A restraining order was also imposed.
‘He should’ve got longer,’ I cried to a mate. After, I began having terrible nightmares and flashbacks.
I worried I’d never be able to trust a man again.
Then, in February 2016, I got chatting to Mark when he came to visit Phoebe. When I told him what’d happened, he was so supportive and we realised we still had feelings for each other.
He’s been my rock and has helped me move on. I’ll never forgive Nicholas for the hell he put me through. But I won’t let him ruin my future.
On average the police receive an emergency call relating to domestic abuse every 30 seconds. For advice or support phone 0808 2000 247 or visit www.womensaid.org.uk