Fella booked hotel room… To do this
Lying in bed, I reached for my phone and saw a text from my boyfriend Liam. Another one. Where are you? Who are you with?
It wasn’t all that long ago that his texts would give me butterflies in my stomach. Now, anxiety churned instead.
It was this March, and we’d been dating for the past few months after meeting in a bar.
Outgoing and confident, Liam had dazzled me with his compliments.
He’d seemed different from blokes I’d dated in the past.
It wasn’t just his words, he’d treat me to dinner, too, and never let me pay the bill.
I saw a future with Liam. And when he started messaging more often, at first I was thrilled.
He’s smitten, too, I thought. But now, those sweet nothings had turned into not so sweet demands.
The relentless questions had my phone pinging every few minutes. I’d dread opening a message from him.
He’ll calm down, I thought, trying to convince myself. I wanted the old Liam back. Then, after four months together, I planned a night out with some girlfriends.
As we got ready together, knocking back cocktails and trying on outfits, my phone continuously buzzed.
‘One guess who that is,’ my friends groaned.
Sighing, I picked up my phone to see Liam had sent another stream of angry texts.
Your friends are a bad influence, you should be going
out with me, one said. Enough was enough. I couldn’t live like this any more. My friends agreed I should break things off.
I don’t want to see you
again. It’s over, I wrote. Silencing my phone, we headed out to a couple of bars in town.
A few hours later, I glanced at my phone. Come outside, I’ve got a surprise, please, texted Liam.
How did he know where I was?
Why hadn’t he got the message?
Now he was here, I decided I’d hear him out one last time.
Telling my friends about Liam’s message, I said I’d be back soon.
Walking out of the bar, I held my head high as I spotted Liam leaning on his car.
Smiling at me, it was as though we hadn’t split up. He reached out for a hug. But as soon as I was near, he grabbed the back of my neck.
‘If you don’t come with me right now, I’ll make a scene,’ he growled into my ear.
I felt numb, confused as to what to do next. I don’t know why I didn’t call for help, but I just climbed into the car.
Liam got in, slamming his foot on the accelerator.
Smelling the alcohol on his breath, I felt panic rising and grabbed on to the door handle.
‘Where are we going?’ I asked, my bottom lip trembling.
Pulling into the car park of a hotel I recognised, I kept quiet.
‘Look, let’s go in, have a chat, and we can talk about making this work,’ Liam said, now seemingly calm.
He said he’d booked a room so we could chat privately.
Nodding, I agreed to go in with him.
What choice did I have? But as soon as I walked into the room, Liam grabbed my mobile from my hand and locked the door behind him.
Scrolling through my phone, his face suddenly dropped.
‘Tinder! Are you kidding me?’ he screamed, throwing it across the room and smashing it.
As I went to pick it up, Liam grabbed me by my throat and threw me on the bed.
‘What are you doing?’ I cried.
Standing up, I felt Liam’s fist smash into my jaw.
I fell to the floor, startled and in agony.
But before I could get on my feet, Liam
whacked me again. He seized me by the throat, pushing me onto the bed.
Pummelling me with his fists, he gagged my screams by pushing a pillow into my mouth.
I’m going to die, I thought, struggling in terror.
I had to do something. Somehow, I managed to pull my face from the pillow and a survival instinct kicked in.
‘Please, we can be together,’ I sobbed. ‘I love you, please, let me call you a taxi and I won’t tell anyone this happened.’
He wouldn’t listen. He just kept throttling and beating me over and over.
I begged him to let me go – and finally, two hours after this ordeal had begun, he stopped.
Staring at me as I gasped for breath, Liam left the room, slamming the door behind him.
I ran into the bathroom and locked the door.
Looking at myself in the mirror, I broke down.
I was unrecognisable. Bruises covered my face and blood was dripping onto the floor. My cheeks were swollen and red.
In shock, I fell to my knees, every inch of my body trembling in fear.
I sat in that bathroom for a whole hour, terrified he’d come back.
But then, taking a deep breath, I unlocked the bathroom door.
Making my way down the stairs of the hotel in silence, I ran straight to Reception.
The receptionist gasped when he saw my face.
‘I’m calling an ambulance,’ he said.
But when he was told there would be a wait, I got a taxi to hospital instead.
Touching my face, I’d never felt agony like it. How could Liam do this to me?
I was given an X-ray when I arrived at James Cook Hospital, and doctors said I was lucky, had escaped with just serious bruising.
Calling a friend, I was hysterical, describing what Liam had put me through.
Next, I rang 999 and asked for the police.
I couldn’t let him get away with this.
I stayed at my friend’s house that night, was too scared Liam would turn up at my parents’, where I lived.
The police came round the next day to take a statement.
Describing every detail of the brutal attack, it felt as though I was talking about someone else.
It took five days before Liam was caught and arrested.
I knew he was controlling and demanding...but violent? It was such a shock.
But when officers told me that this wasn’t the first time Liam had hurt a girlfriend,
I felt so stupid. How did I not see him for the thug he was? He’d been jailed in the past for attacking his ex girlfriend and hurling a concrete slab through her window. I wish I’d known what a monster I’d got myself involved with. In May, at Teesside Crown Court, Liam Owen, 26, admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm and damaging property – my iphone. He was sentenced to 16 months in prison.
It terrifies me that it won’t be long before he’s free again to ruin someone else’s life. That’s why I’m speaking out, to make sure no other woman goes through what me and his ex-girlfriend have suffered.
Since the attack, I have nightmares and flashbacks and barely ever get a full night’s sleep.
I thought, after what happened, I would never be able to have another relationship or trust another man again.
But, luckily, I’ve found myself a decent boyfriend, who I know would never hurt me. Not all men are monsters like Liam Owen. I hope he gets his comeuppance.
At first, we were both smitten...
Liam (right) rained blows down on me, left me battered
Now I’m speaking up to warn other women