Grieving dad writes
To family and friends, Helen Meads was a bright, vivacious woman, a devoted mother and a passionate horse breeder.
More than two years after her murder, father David White still can’t believe she is gone.
‘‘ Even today I catch myself thinking she’ll walk in here, blowing a raspberry or giving me a cheeky comment,’’ he said.
‘‘We were so used to having Helen around, it’s hard to get that out of your system.’’
Mr White launched his book HELEN – The Helen Meads Tragedy on Monday at an event hosted by Women’s Refuge and the White Ribbon campaign in Wellington.
The book details the days leading up to and after Helen’s murder, her husband Greg Meads’ trial and the Whites’ battle to keep him from contacting his 11-year-old daughter Samantha.
Mr White also reveals angst over his failure to get Helen away from her abusive husband.
Mrs Meads, 42, was shot in the throat at close range by her husband at the couple’s Matamata stables in September 2009.
He was later found guilty of murder by a High Court jury and sentenced to life in prison with a minimum non-parole period of 11 years.
Writing the book was a traumatic process Mr White, 67, frequently contemplated not finishing.
‘‘ It’s a wonder my computer didn’t short circuit because I cried so much when writing parts of the book. The process was as traumatic as the day I went to the police station to identify Helen’s body. ‘‘It’s prolonged our grief.’’ Meads’ mother Janet ( Jenny), said she knew nothing of the book launch and had no contact with the Whites.
‘‘I didn’t even know there was a book on the way or anything and I’m really not interested in anything David White does. I don’t have anything to do with them. We could do without this.’’
Mr White began writing the book in 2009 but found the task overwhelming. A year later he picked it up again, after appearing on television to talk about domestic violence.
‘‘I talked about how a father like myself failed to see the signs. The response was amazing. I had all these women write to me to share their stories of domestic violence. It was frightening, their stories were so similar and reinforced everything wasn’t right. Later, half a dozen women, ranging from a college student to a bank manager, visited me in Matamata to share their stories.’’
It was their courage which drove him to finish the book.
‘‘My hope is this book raises awareness about domestic violence. Fathers and families need to start seeing the signs of abuse and women need to heed what happened to Helen or become another statistic.’’
The book discusses the years of abuse Helen endured at Meads’ hands, including an assault in 2008 in which he crushed her larynx and left her body bruised and bloodied.
Mr White claims not to hate Meads, instead choosing to focus his energies on his granddaughter Samantha.
‘‘ I don’t think anything of Meads. It’s too hard to think about what he’s done and the work he’s left us to do. But we’re determined to secure Sam’s future and to give her the pattern of life with the people she knows.’’
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