The runaway brute

Michael was 6,000 miles away, but would I ever be able to escape him..?

Published by: Polly Taylor
Published on: 29th November 2010

Love is a two-way street. You can’t make a relationship work when only one of you is really into it.
Still, even knowing that the other person loves you more than you could ever love them, it’s
hard to end it.
My boyfriend of seven months Michael Slinn, 46, was nice enough. But constantly wanting to know where I was and what I was doing was suffocating me.
Sitting on my sofa mulling everything over, I rolled my eyes as my mobile phone started ringing. Reaching into my handbag, I switched it off.
He’d been calling me constantly, but I wasn’t ready to chat to him.
My stomach twisted every time I thought about telling him it was over, that his clinginess had pushed me to my limit.
Grabbing my purse, I walked to the pub to buy a packet of fags.
As I left the pub, across the street there was Michael running towards me.
‘I’ve been calling you!’ he spat at me, grabbing my wrist. ‘What are you doing?’
‘N-n-nothing…’ I spluttered, trying to pull free.
‘Get here!’ he roared, grabbing my hair with his free hand, forcing me toward the road.
‘What are you doing?’ I cried. He’d never been violent before. ‘Get off me…’
He threw me to the ground.
Eyes glinting menacingly, he lifted his foot and started kicking me, raining blows all over me.
Pain tore through me – my head, face, ribs.
‘Stop!’ I begged, trying to cover my face with my hands. Through my fingers, I could see him looming over me.
And then… smack! Another blow. But this time Michael had been hit. A man who’d seen him attacking me had tackled him.
Scrambling to my feet, gravel embedded in my knees and the palms of my hands, I stumbled away.
Back home, I was totally shaken. Michael had flipped, turned into a complete monster, because he’d been unable to get hold of me. I knew he was clingy, but I’d never expected this.
If this was how he reacted to a missed call, I was right to be splitting with him.
Luckily, after checking myself in the mirror, I was relieved to see there were no bruises.
‘I’m never seeing that psycho again,’ I vowed. Crawling into bed, I drifted off to sleep.
But, hours later, I jumped awake as someone started banging on my front door.
It was a policeman.
‘We’ve arrested Michael Slinn for attacking you,’ he said. ‘A man held him there until we arrived.’
I’d been in such a state of shock, it hadn’t even occurred to me to phone the police.
‘I don’t think I’m injured,’ I told the officer. ‘I don’t want anyone to think I’m over… I’m overreacting.’
Just then, dizziness washed over me. I gripped the doorframe.
‘You’d better get to hospital now,’ the policeman said. ‘It might be concussion.’
But the diagnosis was worse than expected.
‘You have a punctured lung,’ the doctor said. ‘There’s fluid building up around your heart. You’re going to be fine but, if you’d waited another hour to come here, you’d have been dead.’
I had three broken ribs and a perforated eardrum, so was kept in hospital for a week. But even after I was allowed home, memories of the attack haunted me.
I could hear the thud of his trainers slamming into my side, see the look of hatred in his eyes.
Michael was convicted of GBH with intent but, before he was due to be sentenced, I got some disturbing news.
‘He’s skipped bail,’ a policeman told me. ‘He’s gone off to Thailand.’
Later that year at a friend’s wedding, I met Matthew Dingle, 31. We started dating. He was laid back, understanding, gentle… totally different to Michael.
When I felt I could trust him, I told him what had happened.
‘Sometimes I’m scared he’s going to come back for me,’ I whispered to him.
‘I’ll always be here to protect you,’ Matthew promised.
We married and had two daughters Jodie, five, and
Madison, three.
Then one day, logging on to Facebook, a message popped up.
My heart almost stopped.
I miss you, Nichola. You’ve been the biggest loss of my life, I read.
‘It’s from Michael!’ I gasped.
After five years of being on the run from the police, he’d set up a Facebook profile and used it to find me. I couldn’t believe it!
Clicking on his page, I scrolled through the photos – Michael living it up on sandy white beaches, posing under palm trees… turned out he’d been working as a diving instructor since fleeing the country.
Furious, I typed out a reply to him.
Miss me? You almost killed me!
I called the police and reported the message.
‘He’s not exactly hiding what he’s up to,’ I fumed to Matthew. ‘Surely they can arrest him, bring him home and lock him up?’
Police asked me to add Michael as a friend on Facebook.
‘It’s so we can see more of the information on his profile.’
But when I did, Michael guessed what we were up to.
‘I don’t believe it,’ cried Matthew one evening, jumping away from the computer.
‘What?’ I panicked, following his shaky finger.
Tell your wife to stop adding me on Facebook.
‘It’s from Michael,’ he spat.
But he didn’t stop there. He bombarded me with messages, some declaring his love, others claiming his policeman pals had helped him escape jail.
More than what the messages said, the chilling part was who was actually writing them.
After five years, and from 6,000 miles away, this man was still making my life hell.
Finally, an extradition order was issued and Michael was arrested.
He spent a year in a Thai prison, before he was brought to the UK.
At Oxford Crown Court, the judge sentenced him to just two years in jail.
Incredibly, he said he’d been moved by Michael’s description of the squalor and what he’d been put through in a Thai jail!
‘What about what I’ve been through?’ I sobbed to Matthew. ‘Doesn’t that count for anything?’
‘If he hadn’t escaped, he never would’ve been in Thailand in the first place!’ he fumed.
Now, I live in fear of what might happen when Michael’s released. Part of me wishes the police had left him to his new life in Thailand – at least he was 6,000 miles away.
I can’t believe I was so worried about hurting Michael, when he’s managed to hurt me so much for the last six years.
Nichola Wollage-Joyce, 39, Oxford