Sarah Tasker, 25, Hull, is speaking out to stop other women suffering like she did...
I’d tried everything to sleep. The next morning I was on the early shift. I had to be at the taxi office where I answer the phones by 6am.
I needed to be up by 5am, but I couldn’t sleep. My mind was racing, worrying about my boyfriend’s mood.
Please don’t come home drunk, I prayed.
That afternoon, last July, me and my other half Jamie Bamforth, 27, had gone round to friends for a few drinks, but, knowing I was working the next day, I’d stuck to cola.
But Jamie, a driver at the taxi firm, was off the next day, so he was drinking – and, with booze inside him, he could be spiteful.
We’d met five years earlier, in December 2011, through friends. I was looking for work, and he put me in touch with his boss.
‘How about a date?’ he asked a couple of months later.
Jamie made me laugh, seemed really grounded, and was good-looking.
Things moved quickly after that, and we moved in together a couple of months on.
But Jamie changed overnight.
When he was off work, he’d sit around drinking, expecting me to clean up after him.
‘Do you have to leave your empty beer cans on the coffee table?’ I’d ask him.
‘Shut it, you bl**dy nag,’ he’d snap back.
Next thing, he’d apologise, beg my forgiveness. Sometimes there was a bunch of flowers, chocolates, tears…
‘Of course I’ll forgive you,’ I said. ‘I love you.’
And I did. But it started happening more and more.
Mostly after Jamie’d had a drink. Thing is, he was different with friends and colleagues. With them, he was ‘nice Jamie’.
Would anyone believe he was bullying me at home?
He’d often tell me that I was worthless. But I didn’t realise his abuse was about to turn so dangerous.
That night, though, when I heard Jamie come in at 1am, I was scared. And, when he opened the bedroom door, I could smell the beer on him.
When he then asked me to have sex with him, I refused him.
‘I’ve got to get up in four hours,’ I said.
Before I knew what was happening, he’d started punching me in the face.
‘You’re sleeping with someone else!’ he raged.
‘I’m not!’ I cried.
Then he kicked me in my head, face and body. As I pleaded with him to stop, he grabbed me by the throat and squeezed.
‘Shut it!’ he spat.
Then he pulled himself off me.
‘You look a state,’ he said. ‘You can’t go to work like that.’
Next, he texted our boss from my phone, saying I wasn’t feeling well, and I wouldn’t be in, and signing off as me.
From the look in his eyes, I thought he could kill me. So I decided not to make him more angry.
But later, everything changed, and he turned on himself…
I watched in horror as Jamie heaved a mirror off the wall and brought it smashing down on his own head. There was glass and blood everywhere.
‘I hate myself!’ he howled.
‘Look,’ I said, trying to calm him. ‘This can wait till morning. Let’s go to bed.’
Suddenly, he was like a child. He climbed into bed, his face still dripping blood, and fell asleep. It was 4am. He’d been attacking me for three hours.
I knew I had to act. Pulling on my clothes, I tried to ignore the pain as I found my phone and bolted.
I ended up at the taxi office where I work.
‘What happened?’ colleagues asked.
My face was red, swollen, bloodied.
‘I fell,’ I muttered, getting ready for my shift. But I knew how stupid that sounded. I couldn’t carry on lying for the man who’d done this to me.
So, when my sister Lauren, 21, called soon after, I broke down.
‘I need to tell you something,’
I said. ‘Jamie beat me up.’
‘You need to tell Mum,’ she insisted.
So, I called my mum Jenny, 42, and dad Glen, 43.
Immediately, Mum drove me to Hull Royal Infirmary.
Jamie had fractured my eye socket, bruised my jaw, and left me with two black eyes and a badly swollen face.
Later that afternoon, Mum called the police, and I gave them a statement. Jamie was arrested.
Meanwhile, I moved back in with my parents. It’s been hard. I get flashbacks, suffer from anxiety.
At Hull Crown Court in October last year, Jamie Bamforth admitted grievous bodily harm.
He received 32 months in prison, and a five-year restraining order. Justice.
I wasn’t in court but, apparently, Bamforth cried in the dock. That’s too bad. I cried when police told me Jamie’s sentence – and they were tears of happiness, anger and regret.
I’d been with him four years, and all I had to show for it were injuries and pain. I don’t understand why I let it go on for so long. There were so many times I could’ve left, and I didn’t. I feel so stupid now.
But Bamforth wore me down over time, until I started to believe his lies – even when he told me I was worthless. Now I know that he’s the worthless one, not me.
So it’s time for me to move on, start a new chapter. I’ll never let a man raise his voice – or his fist – to me again.
No-one has the right to treat anyone like Jamie treated me. So, if it happens to you, get help. Men like Jamie never change. And you deserve better. We all do.