But I love him

I re­fused to re­port my vi­o­lent part­ner to po­lice, and when I fi­nally found the courage…

Chat - - Contents - Court­ney Grice, 19, Hull

I locked my­self in the bath­room, ter­ri­fied

Look­ing at my out­fit in the mir­ror, I glimpsed Harry’s lip curl­ing in the re­flec­tion.

‘You can’t wear that, you look a state,’ he huffed. My heart sank. I wasn’t big, but my boyfriend Harry would of­ten make nasty re­marks about my weight.

We’d been to­gether since Oc­to­ber 2016 – and, at first, he’d been a sweet­heart.

He didn’t have much money in his wal­let, but that hadn’t stopped him spoil­ing me.

Spon­ta­neous camp­ing trips, bike rides in the coun­try, long walks in the park.

But less than a year later, ev­ery­thing had changed.

Fun days out were a dis­tant mem­ory, and our af­ter­noons were now spent in­doors ar­gu­ing in­stead. Harry was in­se­cure, jeal­ous. So I clung to the good days, catch­ing glimpses of the old Harry. The cheeky lad who’d been be­sot­ted with me at school.

They were few and far be­tween…

‘He’s no good for you,’ Mum warned.

‘But I love him,’ I sighed.

The depth of my love was enough for me, but not for Harry.

He raged about me go­ing out or mes­sag­ing friends.

Wanted me all to him­self.

In Au­gust 2017, I was work­ing in the lo­cal pub when Harry came in.

‘You OK, babe?’ I asked, catch­ing the fa­mil­iar anger be­hind his eyes.

‘What do you think?’ he snapped.

I moved away to serve a lad at the bar, and sud­denly Harry rushed to­wards me.

He launched him­self at me, try­ing to grab me and pin me against the wall.

Bounc­ers were soon on Harry, pulling him away.

‘I’ll do what I want. She’s mine!’ he yelled out.

The bounc­ers threw him out of the pub.

Em­bar­rassed and in shock, I tried to carry on as nor­mal.

But af­ter work, I called the po­lice, re­ported the at­tack.

My par­ents banned me from see­ing Harry.

‘But I love him!’ I said again.

And it was true. So I told my­self that what had hap­pened at the pub was a one-off.

I be­gan see­ing Harry be­hind my par­ents’ back, even dropped the as­sault charge against him.

‘I’m so sorry,’ he told me over and over. But who was I kid­ding? A cou­ple of months later, Harry saw that a ran­dom bloke had ‘liked’ one of my In­sta­gram sto­ries.

‘Who the hell is this?’ he de­manded.

Then Harry snapped, smash­ing the walls and doors.

I locked my­self in the bath­room, ter­ri­fied of what he might do.

When I fi­nally emerged, Harry tried to slap me in the face, but missed.

I stared at him in dis­be­lief that he was try­ing to hurt me again.

And I called the po­lice for a se­cond time.

Harry was ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of as­sault, and in­stantly my stom­ach turned to jelly.

I didn’t want him to get into trou­ble. I just wanted the old Harry back.

He told me again and again that he was sorry.

‘He’s not a bad per­son,’ I pleaded with Mum, but she wouldn’t lis­ten to me. She said I couldn’t live with her while I was with Harry, hop­ing it would help to end things be­tween us.

But in Jan­uary 2018, I moved out and set up home with Harry. And three months ticked by in per­fect har­mony.

It was easy to put ev­ery­thing that had hap­pened to the back of my mind. My friends had longer

mem­o­ries, though,

check­ing on me reg­u­larly.

I woke up one morn­ing to a text from one of them.

If any­thing hap­pens again, call me.

When Harry saw it, he flipped, snap­ping my phone in half in front of my eyes.

I shouted as he ripped the ra­di­a­tor off the wall.

‘What are you do­ing?’ I yelled.

‘Why did they text that?’ Harry roared.

Be­fore I could speak, he wrapped his hands around my neck.

Fight­ing for air, I pum­melled my fists against his chest.

How can he do this to some­one he claims to love?

When he fi­nally let go, I raced to the door.

But I only got as far as the liv­ing room be­fore Harry punched me in the face, grabbed me by the hair and threw me to the floor.

As he rammed my head against the front door, black spots danced in front of my eyes.

I lost con­scious­ness for a mo­ment.

Stag­ger­ing to my feet, Harry’s hands were around my throat again.

Drained of en­ergy, I went limp, ready to give up…

Then, with a sud­den surge of strength, I rammed my knee be­tween Harry’s legs. ‘Aghh!’ he screeched. It didn’t stop him, though, as he threw me to the floor, stamp­ing on my leg.

The pain was so in­tense I let out a blood-curl­ing scream. It seemed to break his rage. ‘Don’t come near me again!’ I bel­lowed, rac­ing to the door.

See­ing my GP the next day, he found 19 in­juries all over my body, in­clud­ing se­ri­ous lig­a­ment dam­age to my leg.

How could Harry do this to me?

This time, when I called the po­lice, there was no way I was drop­ping the charges – no mat­ter how hard it was. Now I wanted jus­tice. In Au­gust 2018, Harry Akester, 19, ap­peared in court ac­cused of two counts of as­sault and crim­i­nal dam­age. At the time, I was told there was a pos­si­bil­ity he would re­ceive a life­time re­strain­ing or­der.

In­stead, af­ter plead­ing guilty, he was handed a three-year re­strain­ing or­der and was made to com­plete 20 days of re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion. He left the court a free man. In just two years, he can con­tact me again.

He de­served much more.

Since we’ve been apart, I’ve landed my­self jobs in mod­el­ling and car sales.

I’ve got my own place and have re­con­nected with Mum.

I’m stronger than I’ve ever been, and I know I won’t go back to Harry ever again – or any man like him.

It’s been a painful les­son to learn, but it’s not love if they’re hurt­ing you.

I de­serve so much bet­ter than that. Ev­ery woman does.

I won’t go back to him ever again – or any man like him

The bru­tal at­tack left me with 19 in­juries…

Surely the ‘old Harry’ would come back to me..?

…in­clud­ing bruis­ing all over my body He stamped on my leg

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