Sadist wife…

’s big bro was ever look­ing for a happy af­ter, but his princess wore slip­pers of blood…

Real People - - OUR MAD WORLD! -

… killed my Mark with a re­mote

Hud­dled be­hind the door, I strained to lis­ten.

‘I can’t be­lieve our Mark’s get­ting told off..!’ I hissed with glee to my sis­ter Emma, nine, and brother Barry, 10.

Mark, 13, was the el­dest of us four and our mam’s golden boy. He was al­ways spared a slap on the legs, and got the big­gest serv­ings at din­ner.

But Mark wasn’t in trou­ble like I thought he was, it was the com­plete op­po­site – Mam, Ida, 33, was apol­o­gis­ing to him...

Some bloke had come knock­ing at the door, claim­ing to be Mark’s grandad, but he wasn’t our dad’s old man.

A big se­cret had been rum­bled – Mark had a dif­fer­ent dad to the rest of us, but none of us had ever known.

His real dad had killed him­self when Mark was just two months old. And, heart­bro­ken, Mam had tum­bled into a new mar­riage with our dad, Fred, and hid­den it from ev­ery­one.

She’d never wanted Mark to be af­fected by the sui­cide the way it haunted her.

But, sud­denly, the truth was out. Still, we weren’t much of a fam­ily for deep and mean­ing­fuls, so we never re­ally talked about what’d hap­pened.

Mark changed his name to his real dad’s – Hopes. But noth­ing else changed.

He was still my an­noy­ing, lov­able older bro, who’d pre­tend to be a shark, snap­ping at our heels as we jumped from one bed to the other.

As he got older, he’d in­sist

I curl his hair like pop star Ge­orge Michael, then he’d pull a dif­fer­ent girl ev­ery night of the week.

No one ever had a bad word to say about him.

The rest of us, in­clud­ing Mam, were fiery. But Mark was soft as but­ter.

If lads started on him in the pub, he’d make for the door, shout­ing, ‘My mam will have you!’

So I was sur­prised when, at 18, he started run­ning up the moun­tains at the end of our road with weights in his back­pack.

A year on, he left home for the Welsh Guards.

I was proud, but con­fused – Mark was a lover, not a fighter.

He came home two years later, a dif­fer­ent man.

One minute he’d be his bright, usual self, pop­ping in for a chat and drink­ing end­less tea, but days later he’d be feel­ing de­pressed and down­ing cider.

The drink got a good grip of him. He drifted in and out of re­la­tion­ships, fa­ther­ing four chil­dren. Katie in 1991, Jamie three years on, and Ffion four years af­ter that. Then an­other daugh­ter who he didn’t see.

‘I know I need to knock it on the head,’ he’d say about the drink. He’d stop for months, but then I’d see him drunk round Mam’s or sway­ing in a lo­cal pub.

I just tried to be there for him – of­fer­ing a bed when his re­la­tion­ships in­evitably split, or clean­ing him up ev­ery time he hit rock bot­tom.

One day in 2011, I was round Mam’s when she said, ‘Mark’s got a new woman.’ Noth­ing new there.

But the next bit had me chok­ing on my tea.

‘She’s from round your way – Maria...’

‘Not Muh-muh-muh-maria?’ I gasped.

It was cruel, but that’s what she was known as in our street, on ac­count of her stut­ter.

She lived a few doors down from me.

She’d split up with her hus­band, and was rais­ing their tear­away teenage sons on her own.

But Mark usu­ally went for skinny, stun­ning things. Maria cer­tainly wasn’t that! Next minute, in he walked... ‘Go on, then, tell us about Maria,’ I teased.

The blood drained from Mark’s face.

‘We met in the bookie’s,’ he mum­bled. ‘It’s noth­ing se­ri­ous.’

But, af­ter that, when­ever I saw Mark, he had Maria on his arm – they looked gen­uinely happy.

‘She clearly loves him,’ I smiled to Mam, see­ing Maria glued to my brother like a la­bel on a tin.

And when Maria’s kids, Leon and Alex, turned against Mark,

she left them

The blood-stained slip­pers re­vealed the truth... (L-R): My sib­lings and Mark Barry, Emma

Con­victed: Leon and his mum, Maria

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