Christy Toulson, 31, never expected the father of her kids to hurt her. But her evil ex raped her and subjected her to hours of hell… before making her write her own suicide note. Here Christy tells her story...
At first I thought it was sweet. My partner Martin Tootell would text me constantly when I was out with my mates. And he’d drive me to my job as a care assistant, then pick me up after a shift. He’s just protective, I thought.
We’d met in 2008 after he’d gone on a date with one of my mates. They hadn’t hit it off. But I thought he was funny and charming. We got along great and things moved quickly between us.
In 2010 I found out I was pregnant. Martin and I were thrilled. But as time went on, he became increasingly controlling. He didn’t like me seeing my friends. ‘You don’t need anyone else,’ he’d say.
If I argued with him, he’d fly off the handle and scream at me. His short temper started to scare me.
When Scarlett was born in July 2011, she was our little ray of sunshine. Shortly after, I fell pregnant again. Then in March 2012, when Scarlett was 8 months, she tragically passed away. She’d had an infection and hadn’t been well. Just one of those terrible, tragic things.
Her death was so sudden, I was distraught. And Martin became distant and snappy with me.
Months on, in September 2012, I gave birth to our little boy. I was still grieving for Scarlet but he brought so much happiness at a dark time. ‘Let’s try and make things work for his sake,’ Martin told me.
The following year, in August, I gave birth to our other son. I hoped having two littl’uns would bring Martin and I closer. We were always bickering though and he’d fly off the handle at the smallest things.
‘It’s over,’ I told him in January 2015. I’d had enough. I wasn’t happy and it wasn’t fair on our boys.
Martin begged me to stay, but I’d made up my mind. Eventually I moved out with the kids. I tried to stay on good terms with Martin for their sake.
Then on 28 February it was my 30th birthday. Over the years Martin had driven all of my friends away so I had nobody to celebrate with.
‘I’ll take you out,’ he offered. He seemed to be making an effort and I wanted us to be friends so I agreed.
That night Martin took me to our local pub. Downing pints, he was soon slurring his words. Then he started coming onto me. ‘Get off,’ I told him, annoyed. But he got angry when I pushed him away. And when he threw up in the pub garden, the bar staff asked him to leave.
Back at my place, I told Martin he could stay on the sofa. He planned to spend the next day with the boys so it made sense. After the babysitter left, I checked on the boys. They were sound asleep.
But downstairs, Martin started making a racket. ‘You can’t do better than me,’ he sneered. ‘Get out,’ I hissed, losing my patience. I’d tried to be mature and civil but he was getting on my nerves. Martin continued to shout and get in my face. Grabbing my phone, I dialled 999.
‘I’m calling the police,’ I warned him. At that Martin launched at me before I could see if the call had connected. ‘Get off,’ I cried again. But he was too strong for me.
Covering my mouth, he dragged me into the living room. ‘Off!’ he bellowed, tearing at my clothes. He had an evil glint in his eye that sent shivers up my spine. Terrified, I did as he said.
Then Martin grabbed me and began tying my arms with a dressing gown cord he’d found on the sofa. ‘You’re hurting me,’ I sobbed. He ignored me and roughly shoved me to the floor. I knew what was coming.
‘No,’ I begged him. ‘Please don’t!’ Then he climbed on top of me and raped me. I was too scared to scream, in case it woke the boys. They can’t see this, I panicked. I closed my eyes and waited for it to be over.
After, Martin stood up and smirked. ‘What’s it like to be raped?’ he sniggered.
I felt sick and disgusted. How could he do this to me with the kids just upstairs? I worried if he was capable of this, would he hurt them too?
Martin locked all of the doors and hid the keys. Hours passed with him shouting abuse at me and pushing me about.
Then he threw a paper and pen at me, ordered me to write what he dictated. ‘I want the boys to stay with Martin,’ he rambled, as I scribbled it down. ‘I’m sorry for everything, it wasn’t Martin’s fault,’ he continued. Suddenly it dawned on me…
Could he be making me write my own suicide note? It’d make look like I’d killed myself if anything happened to me. I couldn’t stop trembling. ‘Think of our boys,’ I pleaded. But he was having none of it.
A few hours later he dragged me upstairs to bed, then fell asleep.
Seeing my chance, I grabbed my phone from the floor and texted a friend. Call the police, I wrote.
I didn’t want my phone to make a sound in case it woke Martin. I sent the same message to my mum. Seconds later she phoned me. My heart pounded as I quickly answered, hoping Martin hadn’t heard.
‘Can’t talk, just phone the police,’ I whispered, before hanging up.
Within half-an-hour, officers arrived and managed to break in through a window.
Martin was arrested and I was taken to a centre to be examined. I was in such a state, I was still trembling.
After, I took the boys to Mum’s. Even though Martin was in custody, I didn’t feel safe. ‘How could he do this?’ I sobbed to Mum.
Eventually I moved to a different town with the boys. But Martin’s vile words still haunted me… What’s it like to be raped?
Finally in March this year, Martin Tootell, 27, appeared at Preston Crown Court. He pleaded guilty to one count of rape, intimidation and sexual assault on a female by penetration and battery. He was sentenced to 12 years. He was also put on the sex offenders’ register for life and a restraining order was imposed.
Relief washed over me. Now I’m doing my best to be strong and move on for the boys’ sake. They’re 3 and 4 now and are too young to understand what their daddy did. But I’ll never forget the hell Martin put me through. Now I’m building a new life for myself. One I won’t let Martin destroy.
*Martin Tootell is appealing his sentence