Ellie Mason-Bush, 22, from Bristol, speaks honestly about how she will never forgive her Dad's ex-girlfriend...
It wasn’t for me to complain about Dad’s new girlfriend. Especially if she made him happy. And when I’d first met Mayka Kukucova, I’d liked her. Glam, young, fun…she knew what she wanted.
Now, though, enough was enough. I felt she was taking Dad for a ride. Mayka was 26. And my dad Andrew Bush was 48…going on 18!
‘No good story ever starts with someone having a glass of water,’ he always said with a cheeky wink. Dad loved having a laugh. And sunshine and good times. He’d even got himself a villa in Marbella, Spain.
My parents had split when I was 1. Since then, Dad had brought me up. Whenever we could, he’d take me and his sister, my aunt Rachel, 41, to Spain. He’d have us in stitches pulling moonies on the beach…in cafes, bars…wherever he felt like it!
When I’d got a bit older, he’d started dating again. And why shouldn’t he? Dad was good-looking, he worked out. He was a smooth-talker, too – his mates called him 007!
He didn’t have any trouble meeting women. Often younger women, like Mayka.
She was gorgeous, tall, blonde hair… To make ends meet while she looked for work as a swimwear model, she’d worked in one of the jewellery shops Dad owned.
They’d started dating back in February 2012. ‘Your dad’s the best,’ she told me. Dad was head over heels, too. And after a few months, Mayka had moved into the house Dad and I shared. That’s when I started to notice things weren’t quite right.
Every time we went out, Mayka expected Dad to pay. If we went shopping, she’d want shoes, handbags, dresses. ‘I’m not just a meal ticket, Mayka,’ Dad would tell her.
But if she didn’t get her way, she’d throw a tantrum, act like a spoilt brat. Yet Dad was a grown man. It was up to him how he spent his money. And he had lots of it. His shops were doing really well, and he’d invested wisely.
Still, I hated the thought of Mayka taking advantage. ‘I just don’t want any stress,’ Dad sighed when I asked him about it. It only got worse, though.
Soon after, Dad put Mayka on his insurance, so she could drive one of his cars. Big mistake.
Mayka took the car everywhere, parked wherever she wanted. She was getting parking tickets every day. And because the car was in Dad’s name, he had to pay them.
‘Enough!’ Dad said finally, ending it.
But Dad was a gent, made sure Mayka didn’t go short. He even paid for her to fly home to see her family in Slovakia. A goodbye gift after being together for around two and a half years. We didn’t hear from her again.
‘I think that’s weird,’ my aunt Rachel said. ‘Women like Mayka don’t give up without a fight…’
In the weeks after, we got on with our lives. Dad seemed much happier without Mayka. He even started dating again – model Maria Korotaeva, 22. I was happy for him.
Then, in April 2014, Dad fancied a holiday.The plan was for him to fly to Marbella with Maria on 1 April. I’d follow a few days later.
‘See you over there, kid,’ Dad said the morning of his flight. ‘Text when you get there,’ I made him promise.
But Dad didn’t text. By the following morning, I was worried. ‘It’s not like him,’ I fretted.
When I called, his phone went to voicemail. So I rang Maria. ‘It’s me,’ I said when she answered. ‘Tell Dad to give me a call.’
‘Oh, Ellie,’ Maria said, her voice cracking. ‘Your dad…he’s dead!’
‘What?’ I asked, shocked. ‘Shot,’ she added. I couldn’t take it in.
‘Who shot him?’ I asked, feeling my legs buckle. ‘Mayka,’ Maria replied.
After that, everything was a blur. I must have called my aunt Rachel, booked myself a flight. That same day, I was in Spain. Rachel had flown over, too. Met me at the airport.
The villa was cordoned off. There were police everywhere. ‘Someone tell me what happened!’ I cried.
‘Mayka killed him,’ Rachel sobbed. Now, she’d gone on the run in Dad’s car.
Finally, four days later, she handed herself in at a police station in Slovakia. I couldn’t make sense of the whole nightmare.
Distraught, without Dad, I didn’t know who I was, or what to do with myself. He was my best friend.
It took two years for the case to come to court in Spain. Mayka Kukucova had to be extradited. When the trial started in May this year, we heard how Kukucova had seen pictures of Dad and Maria on Facebook. She’d been so jealous…
She’d smuggled a gun into Spain – though it wasn’t clear where she’d got it from. Then she’d broken into Dad’s villa and waited for him there. She knew that he would come eventually.
Two days later, he’d arrived. Dad went inside and found Kukucova there in the hallway. Maria went to wait in the car…
But then Mayka Kukucova shot three times, hitting Dad twice in the head, once in the shoulder.
She didn’t even deny it. Instead, she claimed she’d acted in self-defence. According to her, she’d been at the villa collecting her clothes and was surprised when Dad showed up. There’d been a struggle and the gun went off, she said.
The Spanish court saw through her lies, and she was convicted of murder. Rachel and I were there to see her sentenced.
Without her make-up, Mayka Kukucova looked vulnerable, small. And when she was given 15 years behind bars, she started to cry.
I almost felt sorry for her. Then I remembered she’d never once apologised for what she’d done. And those tears she cried, they were only for herself.
But that makes no difference to the pain. I’ll have to live with it for the rest of my life. Dad won’t be there to walk me down the aisle. He won’t be there if I start a family. He won’t be there when I need him. Instead, he lies buried just outside Marbella. A place he loved. Whenever I can, I visit him there. Tell him what I’ve been up to…
I miss him. Miss his laugh, his wisdom. I even miss his cheeky moonies. But I’ll get by. Be the best daughter he could ever have wanted. And make my wonderful dad proud.