Ditched as my waters broke!
Ceri, 27, from Buckley, was in labour with her longedfor baby. But her fella was nowhere to be seen...
The little niggling doubt I had was getting harder to ignore
Lifting a box from the back of my car, I turned to carry it into my house.
Only my boyfriend Samuel stopped me, took the box from my hands.
‘I don’t think so!’ he scolded. ‘No heavy lifting for you.’
‘I’ll pop the kettle on then,’ I said. ‘For your first cuppa in your new home.’
It was July 2016, and after almost a year together, we’d just found out that
I was pregnant.
Now, Sam was moving in with me.
Suffering with polycystic ovaries, I’d been told it might not be possible for me to conceive.
But here I was, expecting a baby with the man of my dreams.
I’d never been happier. Apart from one thing… Sam was thoughtful, kind, a real family man.
But there was something he couldn’t open up about.
He’d been in the Army, served in Afghanistan.
‘I don’t like to talk about it,’ he’d told me while we were falling in love.
Instead, he’d crack jokes, have a drink.
Or two, or three... Sometimes I sensed that he was trying to drown out horrible memories from his service, hiding from his feelings instead of sharing them. And I hoped that now, as we set up home and started a family, he could leave that darkness in the past.
Only, in those first few weeks, Sam was often out with his mates, going to the pub after work in his job as an overhead linesman.
He’d moved in but I hardly ever saw him. Spent evenings alone in front of the telly.
When he eventually came home, he’d call me names and put me down.
He ground away at my self-esteem.
At our first scan, I hoped he’d show me – and the midwife – his enthusiasm.
But he sat there glued to his phone, barely looking up at the screen.
What could be more important than our baby?
At the next scan, at 20 weeks, we decided to find out the sex of our baby.
Usually an exciting day. ‘Oh! I wanted a boy,’ Sam groaned when the scan revealed I was carrying a girl. He went back to his phone. The little niggling doubt that I had about Sam was getting harder to ignore.
And as my due date fast approached, I wondered what sort of home I was bringing my little girl into.
Stroking my belly, I already knew she was my priority now.
In March 2017, alone again at home, my waters broke.
Ringing Sam, I stammered down the phone that I was going into labour.
‘It’s one of my workmates’ leaving dos, so we’re going out in Chester,’ he replied.
I paused, waited for him to add that it didn’t matter, that he’d be home soon to get me to the hospital.
But those words never fell out of Sam’s mouth.
I waited a few hours before calling again.
Luckily, Sam was in a taxi heading back to our house.
But when he got home, it was clear he’d had a few drinks.
‘I’ll have to drive us to the hospital then,’ I said, frustrated. This felt like the last straw. Poppy was born days later, a beautiful bundle of joy.
Exhausted and in pain,
I was reliant on Sam, friends and family.
As we left the hospital the next day, I was pleased to have Sam by my side.
Now, with a newborn baby, I needed him more than ever.
This could be the making of him, I thought.
And for the first couple of weeks, during his paternity leave, Sam was brilliant. Changing nappies, feeding the baby, looking after her when I needed to rest, his sweeter side re-emerged.
Only, when he returned to work, everything changed again.
If he wasn’t out with his friends, he was slumped out on the sofa, not paying me or Poppy any attention.
And his constant fixation with his phone was grinding on me.
What’s so interesting on there?
He’d even take it to the bathroom with him!
One night in April 2017, six weeks after
He was on his feet now, anger in his eyes, screaming vile abuse
Poppy was born, my suspicions got the better of me.
As soon as Sam started snoring drunkenly on the sofa, I seized the opportunity.
Picking up his phone, I flicked through and gasped.
He had what appeared to be the number for an escort agency saved in his contacts.
‘How could you?’ I cried, shaking him awake.
When I said what I’d found on his phone, he said it was a joke between him and the work lads.
But I’d had enough. Picking up Poppy, I started walking towards the stairs.
But Sam was on his feet now, anger in his eyes.
Screaming vile abuse, his fist shot towards me but missed and flew through the door.
Scared, I quickly carried Poppy upstairs.
‘I want to hold her,’ he said, slurring his words, as he followed me into the bedroom. ‘No, you’re drunk,’ I barked. Suddenly, his one hand gripped around my neck and, eyes blazing, he pulled back his fist as if to punch me.
Afraid he’d hurt Poppy, I begged him to stop. He hesitated, then let go. Poppy still in my arms, I lunged for my phone, but Sam was too quick.
Suddenly his hands were round my throat again and he was pinning me down on the bed.
Terrified, I tried to cover Poppy’s head, didn’t want her seeing what he was doing.
‘Mind the baby,’ Sam kept saying, though he was the one strangling me!
When he finally released me, I gasped for air.
But I didn’t care about me. Stroking her tiny head, I prayed that Poppy would never remember this chaos, or the danger that her dad had put her in.
‘I’m sorry,’ he muttered, before running downstairs and out of the front door.
Vanished again, leaving me to pick up the pieces.
As I tried to comfort Poppy, I was in bits myself.
The police arrived soon after he left, called to the house by a neighbour.
I told them everything. I stayed at my mum’s that night, too terrified Sam would return to the house. He was arrested soon after and charged with assault. In June 2017, Samuel Foulkes, 25, admitted assault at Flintshire Magistrates Court. Magistrates said that it was a ‘cowardly assault of a woman with a baby in her arms’.
The court heard that, when interviewed, Sam admitted the argument had been sparked over the number of an escort agency being found on his phone.
His defence argued that he’d suffered post-traumatic stress disorder from his time in the Army.
Maybe he was suffering. But that didn’t make what he did to me OK.
Sam was placed on a 12month community order with rehabilitation and 200 hours unpaid work, and fined £85 costs and an £85 surcharge. After, Sam begged me to forgive him. Foolishly, I did – hoping he would change and be a real father for Poppy. Of course he didn’t. Within days of moving back in, he was back to his partying ways. So I ended it for good. The Sam I fell in love with had vanished long ago, and I’d had enough.
Any man who attacks a woman isn’t worth it. I’ll never put up with that again.
Me and Samuel in late 2016
Samuel – what happened to the man of my dreams?
With my little girl today