Kimberley Crane, 30, from Essex explains how her ex is finally paying the price for what he did to her...

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Single for four months, with two children, finding love was not on my mind.

But last September, while my kids were with their dad for the weekend, I went out with a friend.

In the bar I got chatting to Alex Clare, 28.

‘You’re stunning,’ Alex smiled.

He told me he used to be a soldier, but now did paving.

Next morning, he texted, asking me out that night.

Why not? I thought. He made me laugh non-stop.

After, we texted loads, and he started coming round when the kids were asleep.

On 24 October, we were out together when I bumped into a male friend.

‘Is he an ex?’ Alex asked, furious. ‘What’s happened between you two?’

‘Nothing,’ I replied, surprised. ‘He’s just a mate.’

I dismissed his over-reaction.

About three weeks later, we went to Ipswich for a weekend.

The night before, Alex had arranged to come back to mine after the pub, but never arrived.

He apologised, but I was still annoyed, so when he tried to initiate sex later, I stopped him.

Suddenly, Alex lost it and bit my right arm. I burst into tears.

‘What have you just done?’ I sobbed, shocked.

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Alex me told it was my fault, saying I shouldn’t be so frigid.

Soon his violent outbursts began to increase…

One evening we stayed in, when I got a text from a cousin.

Suddenly, Alex pinned me to the ground, screaming. Then he hurled my phone into the garden.

‘I’ll go out and let you calm down,’ I said.

But Alex shoved me against the wall, banging my head.

‘Why are you always wanting to go out?’ he raged.

Eventually, he let me go, and I went to put some make-up on. But when I came back into the kitchen, he grabbed me by the neck and shoved dishwater in my face, smearing my make-up.

‘Now who’s not going out?!’ he laughed.

In tears, I didn’t have the energy to argue.

I began to feel like Alex was a ticking time bomb…

Stopping me have contact with male friends, kicking off if I wanted to go out.

Then, on 18 December, we were in bed just chatting when I mentioned a male friend.

Suddenly – boom! Alex punched me in the eye. Pain surged through my face.

‘You shouldn’t mention him again,’ Alex raged.

It was the final straw.

Luckily, the kids were staying with my mum that night.

I can’t be with you any more, I texted Alex later. I’ve got to protect my children. Your behaviour’s not normal. You need help.

Predictably, Alex went mad. Messaging me constantly.

I’ll move heaven and earth to be with you, he begged.

Scared he’d come to my house, I stayed at my mum’s.

But, on Christmas Day evening the children went to their dad’s and I went home.

Just as I’d got in, Alex turned up, pounding on my front door. When I didn’t answer, there was an almighty smash and the living room window shattered.

‘What are you doing?’ I screamed. ‘Go away!’

Thankfully, neighbours called the police, and Alex fled.

I told the police everything…

It was then they mentioned Clare’s Law. I’d never heard of it.

‘It allows you to find out if a partner has a history of domestic violence,’ an officer explained.

It turned out Alex had a criminal record for beating up a previous girlfriend.

The next day, Alex handed himself in. He admitted assault and criminal damage, and was held on remand.

Then, this January, he appeared at Colchester Magistrates Court via video link.

In his defence, the court heard he’d suffered a number of traumatic situations.

‘Around 2007 to 2012, he was concerned in a tour of Afghanistan,’ his lawyer said. ‘In 2015, his friend was found dead. It was not related, but that brought distress and post-traumatic stress disorder. He is under psychiatric help.’

News to me!

Alex was given a suspended sentence and a restraining order.

I burst into tears. After everything he’d done to me, he was a free man! And it wasn’t long before he texted me again.

So I told police he’d breached his order and, in February, he was back in the dock.

But the case was postponed.

Outside court, Alex took a selfie, posting it on social media with the caption, Well I’m out again with laughing emojis.

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How dare he?!

First, he’d walked free, now he was posting gloating selfies.

Scumbag!

Finally, though, in March, he was back in court. After admitting two harassment offences, the suspended sentence was activated and he was sentenced to 30 weeks imprisonment.

At long last, Alex is where he belongs.

But with good behaviour, he’ll probably be out in half the time, so I’m telling my story to warn other women.

Don’t be fooled by his charm, this man is dangerous.