A woman has told how she suffered years of abuse at the hands of a ‘monster’ who has now been caged for 10 years for attacking another partner.
Helen Halligan, from Whitburn, says she endured 13 years of hell after her ex-husband John Halligan became physically and mentally abusive.
The mum-of-two has told of her ordeal now that Halligan has been jailed for 10 years and 10 months for a vicious knife attack on a woman which penetrated her lung.
The 52-year-old - from The Willows, Hedworth Estate, Jarrow - has a long criminal record for violence and admitted wounding with intent during the incident on April 2.
The court heard he plunged an eight-inch blade into his victim’s chest after an argument broke out in their home.
Helen, 40, now lives with a new partner but says she will be forever indebted to her late parents who took her and her children in to protect them from the abuse and is now calling for more safe houses for women who are victims of domestic violence.
She said: “We were together 13 years and I was married for seven.
“Everything was fine but when my son came along, he just became more controlling.
“There would be arguments. I remember being dragged down the stairs by the hair by him because he wanted me to share a bed with him.
“Another time he beat me up while we were on holiday at Butlins.”
She added: “After we got home I left him, but he kept phoning me promising me things, so I went back.”
The abuse, she says, continued and she left him permanently, but - when picking up her children from his house - he attacked her agaim.
Throughout the course of their relationship Helen says she sufered suffered four serious attacks and daily abuse.
She said: “I would hate to think that there are people out there who have nowhere to go, I would love to help them somehow.”
“I was angry when I heard about this latest attack. Once, when he was found guilty of attacking me, he was given community service and made to do an anger management course.
“He is a monster because he is not going to stop. He could have killed me.
Julie Robinson, chairwoman of South Tyneside Domestic Violence and Abuse Forum, said Helen’s story is sadly a typical one the organisation has to deal with. She said: “More dispersal properties are needed for men and women.”
Anyone who has experienced an abusive relationship and would like to speak to someone who understands, is asked to contact Helen by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org