Real life: My cheat­ing hus­band shot me

All April Ross, 36, wanted was a di­vorce...

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When I first met Tra­nard Mccon­nell at school back in 1996, I hadn’t even given him a sec­ond glance.

We were 14, but while I was in­ter­ested in study­ing, Tra­nard was pop­u­lar with the girls.

Yet, when he started chat­ting to me in class a year later, I couldn’t help but feel flat­tered. And when we shared a kiss at a party a few months af­ter that, I could feel my­self fall­ing for him.

We started dat­ing, and it wasn’t long be­fore our re­la­tion­ship turned sex­ual.

At first, Tra­nard was lov­ing, but then be­came sex­u­ally de­mand­ing. I didn’t want to lose him so I put up with it.

In 2000, aged 18, Tra­nard and I went to col­lege 90 min­utes apart, but saw each other ev­ery week­end. ‘I’m go­ing to marry you one day,’ he’d say.

But a year on, my doc­tor told me I’d tested pos­i­tive for chlamy­dia.

My heart sank. I’d been faith­ful, so it only meant one thing. Tra­nard had cheated.

‘It won’t hap­pen again,’ he sobbed when I con­fronted him.

I con­vinced my­self it was just a one-off.

Over the years, ru­mours of his cheat­ing per­sisted, but

I put it down to other girls’ jeal­ousy. But then, in 2007, Tra­nard sud­denly ended things. ‘It’s just not work­ing,’ he said. I was heart­bro­ken, but in time I started to get over him. Then, the year be­fore I started law school, I met Levon Hai­ley, then 33, known as Lee.

He was ro­man­tic and re­spect­ful, and our re­la­tion­ship was lov­ing. It made me re­alise the way Tra­nard had treated me was wrong. For months, Lee and I were happy, but just as things were get­ting se­ri­ous, Tra­nard sud­denly reap­peared.

He bom­barded me with calls, say­ing he missed me. He was my first love, and I’d al­ways had feel­ings for him. Even­tu­ally, I agreed to end it with Lee and take him back.

In 2010, we got en­gaged. I fin­ished law school and got a job work­ing for the gov­ern­ment. We ap­peared to have the per­fect life, but Tra­nard was con­trol­ling and de­mand­ing.

‘I told my­self it was a one-off’

At our wed­ding in 2011, I con­vinced my­self this would be a fresh start. As a mar­ried man, Tra­nard would change.

But I couldn’t keep up with his sex­ual ap­petite. He said I wasn’t ‘ad­ven­tur­ous’ enough.

‘I want an open re­la­tion­ship,’ he said, in 2012. He wanted us to sleep with other peo­ple.

‘No!’ I gasped. But he in­sisted it would make our mar­riage more ex­cit­ing . Wor­ried I’d lose him, I agreed.

He started see­ing some­one, and would boast about the sex he was hav­ing.

Hurt, I con­tacted Lee. Af­ter I ex­plained my open re­la­tion­ship to Lee, we had sex, but Tra­nard got jeal­ous.

‘You wanted this!’ I ar­gued.

‘Call it off,’ he snapped.

I did as he said, but Tra­nard con­tin­ued his own af­fairs.

By 2014, I’d had enough and moved back in with my par­ents, but once again, Tra­nard came beg­ging and promis­ing to change. But this time, I stuck to my de­ci­sion.

Tra­nard was call­ing me non-stop and I wor­ried he was fol­low­ing me. Friends sug­gested I get a re­strain­ing or­der but I told them not to worry.

‘He’d never hurt me,’ I re­as­sured them. And, on 23 April 2014, I filed for di­vorce. Sur­pris­ingly, Tra­nard agreed.

Gunned down

A few days later, I picked up Lee in my car. We were chat­ting, when sud­denly a fig­ure emerged at the win­dow. It was Tra­nard, and he had a gun.

Ev­ery­thing hap­pened so fast. Bul­lets shat­tered the car win­dow, then it went dark.

When I woke up, I was in hos­pi­tal, un­able to move or speak. I was con­fused, but it all came flood­ing back – my hus­band had shot me.

Though I was pumped full of med­i­ca­tion, I was in pain. Then a doc­tor broke the bad news.

‘You’re paral­ysed from the chest down,’ he said. A bul­let had hit my spinal cord, it meant I would never walk again.

I was dis­traught. I’d started to re­mem­ber bits of the shoot­ing too. Tra­nard had opened fire, shat­ter­ing the car win­dow.

Sui­cide and surgery

He shot me in the face, arm and back. Lee was hit six times. As Tra­nard fled, Lee crawled out of the car and screamed for help.

I was rushed to hos­pi­tal and needed six op­er­a­tions in the first week, in­clud­ing fa­cial re­con­struc­tion and a ti­ta­nium rod put in my arm. But my spine was ir­repara­bly dam­aged.

Lee had a bul­let lodged in his neck, as well as holes in his jaw and chest. He’d needed surgery, too, but thank­fully, he was alive.

Tra­nard shot him­self af­ter the at­tack. Po­lice found his body the same day in a nearby ceme­tery. It felt so sur­real. De­spite ev­ery­thing, I grieved for him. I loved him once, and never thought him ca­pa­ble of vi­o­lence.

Af­ter a week in hos­pi­tal, I was moved to a re­hab fa­cil­ity. I had no feel­ing from the chest down, and had to use a wheel­chair. My par­ents, Kevin and Gor­nata, vis­ited me as much as they could. They’d al­ways liked Tra­nard and couldn’t be­lieve what he’d done to me.

Re­cov­ery was tough but af­ter six months I moved into a spe­cial wheel­chair-adapted home. I still needed help, but I felt much more in­de­pen­dent.

Lee came to visit, too. He’d made a full re­cov­ery. We bonded over the trauma and be­came best friends. Eigh­teen months on, I was back to work.

Doc­tors say I'll never be able to walk again but I've not given up hope. One thing is for sure, I won’t be fall­ing in love again. But I’m de­ter­mined to be the best woman I can be.

Tra­nard took so much from me, but I won’t let him take any­thing else.

‘A bul­let hit my spinal cord. I was paral­ysed for life’

April with Tra­nard

Tra­nard Mccon­nell

They had dated since school

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