'I thought he would kill me but I didn't tell the police'

By Lucy Adams
BBC Scotland correspondent

media caption"A lot of the abuse he got away with"

Sarah says she helped her boyfriend conceal his abuse because she was scared of how he would react if she told the police.

"I was covering up for him so they might have been thinking it was not that bad but really it was hell," she says.

"There were two times when I thought he was going to murder me but I concealed that from the police."

Sarah, a name we are using to protect her anonymity, says her ex-boyfriend was arrested when other people had called the police but he was "very clever" and always managed to break the conditions of his bail without getting caught.

"He made sure there was no proof or no witnesses but he still contacted me," she says.

She says she was so concerned about betraying him that she "lied loads of times" when police were doing risk assessments.

It seemed easier to stay with him than to risk leaving, she says.

When she first met the man who would abuse her for years he was "charismatic" and "super good-looking", Sarah says.

"He could charm the birds out of the trees and gave me butterflies in my stomach," she says.

Jealous rage

They started a relationship but then his jealousy started to become apparent.

"A few months down the line I got my first taste of how nasty he really was," she says.

image captionSarah says she lied to conceal her boyfriend's abuse

"He got jealous at the fact I had picked my kids up from their dad's without him being present."

After an argument he left but took the backdoor keys without her knowledge.

He returned during the night and she woke up to find him standing over her.

She says: "He went into an attack where he was trying to gouge my eyes out and strangle me.

"All I thought was that he was going to murder me and my two kids were lying in the room next door."

He eventually stopped the attack and left Sarah "absolutely petrified".

She says she did not know what to do or who to turn to and when he came and apologised she took him back.

"That was the start of the violence," she says.

Tyres slashed

There were numerous other attacks over the next few years.

Sarah says: "There were times when I did try to leave but I always just ended up going back.

"To start off with I went back because I thought it was love," she says.

"After a while it was just easier to go back. He was slashing my car tyres, he was putting my windows in. It was like a nightmare."

She says she used to sleep with hammers by her bed in case he broke his way into the house and attacked her.

Her boyfriend broke her ribs because she got a lift home from the pub with a man and he smashed her in the face for sitting next to another man at a party.

It was a neighbour who called the police when Sarah fled and he was arrested for his abuse.

Sarah was moved to a shelter for homeless people, so that he could not trace her.

She says she is still trying to put her life back together.

"When all of this was going on, I did not even know who I was," she says.

"It totally destroyed me as person."

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