Afterwards

I felt so drained and knew I had done all I could , so we left quietly and left the case to continue without us. Mum and T dropped me off at the train station and I thanked them about 6 times for their support and for being there with me today.

As I sat on the train I felt a small weight lift form my shoulders, finally the day had come and I had stood up and spoken up as I had needed to and maybe that would be the last time I have to deal with police statements and witness services and courtrooms. I allowed myself a small smile and settled in for my journey home.

As I walked up the drive I felt a huge sense of relief, this is my oasis, my home that M has no idea of. He hasn’t even got the slightest inkling as to where I live now and my name and that was a beautifully comforting thing.

I changed out of my smart dress and jacket and put on some comfy PJs and curled up on the sofa. I stayed there until my gorgeous man came home and spent the evening curled up in his arms feeling safe and happy with my life.

The next day I woke to the realisation I would know if all the worry and stress had been worth it, we would know the verdict today. I spent the day pottering around at home making sure my phone was on and in reach at all times.

It finally rang at 4.47pm and I heard my case officer K’s voice,

‘Hello C, the court has adjourned for the day and we will be back in the morning, today ran over and they need to do closing statements and then at about 11am the jury will go to make its verdict.’

My heart fell and I realised that more waiting would be required, I was going to be at work tomorrow and I knew I wouldn’t be able to concentrate from 11am onwards, it would be impossible.

I thanked her and sat down feeling all the nervous energy go back to worry and knew a sleepless night was ahead for me.

C xo

Reliving a Nightmare

I took my affirmation and waited standing in a daze until the judge spoke,
‘You may sit if you wish’

I thankfully sank down into the seat and tried to stop my gaze from going a little to the right where M was sat staring at me.

First up was the prosecution, they are on my side and are trying to prove M’s guilt. I had meet her earlier and all I could think was she hasn’t told me what I can’t say just that I might not be able to say somethings.

As it happened she skillfully questioned me about my early relationship with M and how it had turned controlling and violent without going into too much detail, she then asked about what happened when I left him that final time in March 2012.

I took a deep breathe and started to talk, she asked questions here and there to move me along the time line and limiting detail on the bits she felt I should not mention.

I couldn’t avoid talking about the cards or the website though and tears ran down my cheeks as I felt them burn with shame all over again. I took a sip of the water they had provided to me and it tasted stale.

I was reliving some of the worst moments of my life and as I gazed out at the room I saw the jury and wondered do they look bored or are they just concentrating?

I was brought back to my reason for begin there and asked about the day and night in question, I answered truthfully, simply stating the facts that I had run home I was training for a marathon, I had cooked dinner, spoken to my boyfriend on the phone and watched TV before turning into bed at 10.20pm.

No I don’t drink often, why is that? She asked. I stuttered as I tried to explain that I do not like the feeling of not being in control that drinking causes and besides training for a marathon didn’t leave room for alcohol, it sort of defeated the object of training.

With that I was told,
‘no further questions.’

The judge looked at the time and called the court to order and to break for lunch. I was lead out where I saw my mum with red eyes she had been crying too, and I burst into tears. I couldn’t hold back any longer I felt sick and dizzy and my mum and T took a hand each and lead me to the lifts. Without noticing where I was going I was sat down in a chair in the witness suite.

A glass of water was placed gently into my hands and my mum sat down beside me.
‘Well done you were brilliant, first bit done now, you are almost there.’

I tried to smile and it came out wrong so instead I reached for a tissue and blew my nose.

The next hour both flew by and crawled by it was so odd, once again I forced myself to eat the lunch I had prepared whilst Mum and T made conversation. Once the food was eaten we went back to the puzzle, it really was an excellent choice of distraction I should tell them that I thought.

The at 2.05pm I was called again, I walked knowing that this time it would be worse. That the defense was going to try and prove I was a lair and that I had in fact broken into M’s house as M claimed, drunk out of my mind and trashed it.

I sat in the little cold room, and saw the court clerk open the door and beckoning me to enter the court, the sounds of the court dimmed as I walked in and took my seat in the stand once again. I kept my face forward and tried not to look a little to my right.

Then the defense lawyer stood up and started his questioning.

Time and time again I said no to his accusations, as he lead the jury through the allegation M had made, no I did not break in, no I did not access the house through that window, no through that door, no through the garden….

No I did not hack his Skype account, no I did not message anyone, no I did not tear up wedding invites, no I did not smash a photo frame.

No I was not drunk, No I did not get into M’s bed, No I did not see him and No I did not stay there the night.

No I did not slip and get drunk to drown my sorrows that Tuesday night, No I do not drink, nor did I have any drinks that evening.

NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO……..

He went on and on again and again asking the same questions a different way, saying ‘Isn’t in true that you…’ Isn’t it correct that…’

I felt exhausted and my throat hurt, I could only answer with the truth no.

Lastly he asked,
‘Isn’t it true that you dislike, even hate M, that you would like to see him back in prison.’

I looked at the jury for what seemed like ages and took a deep breathe,
‘I do hate M for what he has done to me and all that he has put me through. But I am also terrified of him, I have done everything I can to hide myself away from him, to stop him from hurting me further and I would never willingly put myself in a room with him, I would never go near him or step into a place I have known him to frequent. I never want to see him again in my life that is all I want.
He should go to prison for what he has done, but that’s not my choice or my doing, it is his.’

I waited thinking that’s it he will pounce on me because I said I hate M, but I was under oath I do Hate M. But he will try to twist my words into revenge or malice.

A full minute passed as the defense lawyer looked at his papers and then he cleared his throat and I braced myself,
‘No further questions, my lord.’

I blinked at him in surprise, what???

‘You are free to go c, please follow the clerk out.’

‘Thank you.’ I mumbled.

I stood up too quickly and my head swam, I located the clerk and followed him out, as I turned I saw M smiling mouthing something to me.

I have no idea what I can’t lip read.

C xo

Facing M in Court again

On Monday I went to the crown court in Chelmsford I was lead in through a back entrance to ensure I would not bump into M and I sat down waiting in the witness suite, this was at 9.15am.

Shortly after I arrived a witness care worker showed me the layout of the courtroom so that I knew where M was, I had turned down the offer of a screen as I did previously as I did not want to give M the satisfaction of hiding from him.

My stomach was churning and the small breakfast I had made myself eat felt like it might make a return any moment. But I stayed seated and listened to the advice I had heard once before nearly 3 years ago now.

Next came the prosecutor who was to the point and brief, she warned me I might have to omit certain details of previous crimes M had done to me as this was a new case and they can’t focus on previous actions. I looked at her in shock that is all I have!

It is my word against M’s! He is lying and all I can say is I was at home asleep I did not do what he said I did and the reason why I would never do it is because I am terrified of him, I would never put myself in a room with him or seek him out.

My head started to swim and I heard my mum ask about the defense, they carried on talking and I heard words like stick to the truth, be brief, it will be harder than last time.

I stared ahead not really hearing much, if I can’t say why I can’t be near him how will the jury understand?

They all suddenly stood up and I realised they needed to go, they were due in court for 10.30am.

My mum squeezed my hand and said how about we go look at that puzzle in the corner while we wait. I nodded but mumbled I needed the loo and stood up and made it to the loo in time before the panic attack took hold.

I sat on the closed seat and tried to control my breathing I hated him so much for putting me through this and for having to feel like this again. Gradually I started to calm down I started counting out loud shakily from 1 to 100 and by 62 my breathing was evening out.

My head felt faint and as I tried to take deep breathes tears ran down my face. No no no I can’t cry now I need to keep it together!

I pressed tissues to my eyes tipping my head backwards hoping they would stop.

A knock came on the door and I heard my mums voice,
‘Are you ok?’

‘Yes, sorry I will be out in a minute’ I hurriedly brushed the wetness from my face and splashed cold water on my stinging eyes. I looked up and saw my face was pale and my eyes were blood shot, I hated looking like this and wanted so badly to be able to walk in with my head held high.

I opened the door to see my mum looking concerned, I told her about the panic attack and she hugged me fiercely. We walked out and went to the puzzle, it was very complicated and an excellent distraction- obviously why it was there.

The minutes ticked by and I realised it was 11am they had said I should be called sometime soon, deep breathes in and out in and out.

12 minutes later my case officer came in and I though ok this is it.

But she told me there was a delay with the previous case and we will have to wait, we might not get to me today. I sat back down with a bump, more waiting I don’t know if I can bear it.

So we waited.

Then at 12.10pm I was called.

I stood up and smoothed my skirt down, I can do this, I have done this before. I repeated this mantra in my head over and over

We followed the witness care worker and suddenly all too quickly I said goodbye to my Mum and T and I was alone waiting in a little cold room and behind the door lay the court and in that court was M.

My knees shock and I tried to stop them, I took long breathes and tried to keep my mind clear and to remember where to look as I walked into the court.

My heartbeat sounded like thunder in my chest and every breathe out sounded ragged as if I had run up a hill.

Suddenly the door opened and the court clerk came in and asked me if I wanted to swear on the bible or affirm, I mumbled affirm so quietly he had to ask me again.

He held the door open for me and I stood up and walked forward, my body didn’t feel like my own as the courtroom came into view 12 jury members stared at me and I forgot where not to look and I saw M.

He was staring at me too and he was smiling…

C xo