My sister was brutally murdered by her husband and it haunts me

DEAR DEIDRE: MY sister was murdered by her husband after she had finally found the strength and courage to leave him.

She was 35 and had been married for ten years. It was a turbulent, abusive marriage from the beginning. Even so, she stuck with him for years in the hope he would change.

They went on to have two lovely little boys but sadly the abuse continued and, if anything, it worsened.

Her vibrant personality changed during her time with him — it was as if he had brainwashed her.

Eventually he banned us from seeing her. We were so encouraged when she bravely left him with her children and moved into a refuge.

But just days before she was due to move to a new house, he lured her to a local beauty spot after begging her to give him another chance. I think for the sake of keeping her family together she had agreed to the meeting.

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It was a sickening, premeditated murder. She was stabbed 25 times with two knives. We visited the scene with police.

It was devastating but we felt we needed to see it. Her husband had returned home and called their children to tell them that their mum was dead.

At his trial it came out that he had previous convictions for offences including robbery and assault. He was sentenced to 23 years in prison for my sister’s death.

I’m 33 and am having nightmares because of this horror. I cannot put into words how heartbroken our family is — that we couldn’t protect her or her children is the thing that haunts me. How do we come back from this huge loss?

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DEIDRE SAYS: You’ve suffered such a terrible loss. Murder has its own deeper level of disbelief and shock. The event is unbelievable, unexpected, tragic and a crime, all at once.

Your grief is still very raw but do allow yourself time to grieve. It is all part of the healing process.

You can find help and understanding for yourself and your family through SAMM – Support After Murder and Manslaughter (samm.org.uk, 0121 472 2912). It can arrange free trauma counselling with specialist therapists.

Also, my support pack Coping With Bereavement will help you. Nothing will ever bring your lovely sister back.

But I hope you will find closure and be able to move on with the right support now that justice has been served.

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