Diane was enjoying a drink in the sunshine with her friends. But when she spilt her glass of wine, her fiance David saw red...

I sat staring at David, thinking about how lucky I was to have found such a perfect guy. ‘Are you happy?’ he turned to me and smiled.

‘Completely,’ I told him. And I meant it.

I’d actually been dating David’s cousin when I first met him and we’d hit it off right away. He was caring and funny and I just couldn’t get him out of my mind.

Our friendship was completely innocent but it didn’t take me long to realise I’d met the wrong family member first.

I decided to end things with David’s cousin as I didn’t want to hurt him.

‘We have to be careful of other people’s feelings. We can’t rush into this,’ I told David afterwards.

He agreed to take things slow, but there was no denying I was falling for David. I’d never felt this way before.

After three years of dating, we finally decided to move in together. It took some adjustment but we were smitten and I’d never happier.

A year later, I fell pregnant. We hadn’t planned a baby and I was unsure as to how David would take the news.

‘I’m pregnant!’I blurted out one evening, no longer able to keep the news to myself. I looked at David, waiting for his response.

I’d hit him with the bombshell completely out of the blue but it wasn’t long before a smile spread across his face.

He held me tight and whispered in my ear: ‘We’re going to be parents.’

We were both so happy as we excitedly began preparing for our baby’s arrival. But our joy was short-lived, after David’s mum died unexpectedly after contracting a chest infection.

David was lost in grief but, heavily pregnant, I tried my best to comfort him.

‘Everything is going to be okay, we’ll get through this,’ I soothed him. ‘Your mum will be looking down on us, you’ll see.’

Two months later, we welcomed our beautiful daughter, Jacqueline, into the world.

As I watched him coo over our gorgeous bundle in the maternity ward, it felt like the first time I’d seen David smile since he lost his mum.

I was admiring Jacqueline’s perfect, tiny features when David turned to me. ‘I love you and Jacqueline so much and I never want to lose you. Diane Sanderson, will you marry me?’ he whispered.

It was so poignant, so unexpected I couldn’t fight back the tears. ‘Yes! Of course I will,’ I sobbed.

I was over the moon. Now we had Jacqueline and were engaged to be married, everything was perfect. I couldn’t wait to make it official and become David’s wife.

But not long later, David changed. He became angry and when he started drinking heavily, his moods became unpredictable.

One day, I was running late for work and Jacqueline needed feeding. ‘Can you turn that off?’ I asked David, gesturing to the Xbox he was playing on.

‘I’m a bit behind, can you warm up Jacqueline’s bottle please?’ I went on.

Whack. Before I knew it, all the wind had been knocked out of me as David grabbed me by the throat, his grip getting tighter and tighter.

‘Please, stop,’ I gasped between broken breaths as David pinned me up against the wall. Eventually, he threw me to the floor and stormed off.

Sobbing, I clutched my neck and pulled myself up. I ran to Jacqueline and held her to my chest.

I had no idea what had just happened. David had completely flipped.

‘I’m so sorry,’ he pleaded later that evening. ‘It will never happen again, I promise you, Diane.’

Alarm bells rang but I told myself David was mourning his mother. He’d just become a new father too, he had a lot to cope with.

And he was usually such an attentive partner and doting dad. I decided to give him another chance and I relaxed when David’s temper simmered down after that.

But a few weeks later, after he’d had a few to drink, David’s violence started again when he smashed me across the head with a wooden table.

It seemed that every time David had a drink at the weekends, he’d launch an unprovoked and violent attack.

But every time, he’d apologise over and over and I kept making excuses for him. Then one day in the summer of 2015, I was out with friends when we decided to pop back to see David.

After a few drinks in the sun, I was definitely a bit tipsy, and when my friend went to the toilet, I tried to pour myself a glass of wine.

‘Oops!’ I giggled, as I accidently spilt some on the table in the living room. But when I made eye contact with David, I realised he wasn’t laughing.

‘I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,’ I begged as I hastily tried to clear it up. But David was fuming.

‘You clumsy cow! If it wasn’t for Jacqueline, I wouldn’t be with you,’ he spat.

He had fury in his eyes as he lunged at me, clamping his hands around my throat until I couldn’t breathe.

‘Please, no!’ I cried, as I grappled against his grasp.

David released his grip but this time, rather than storming off, he began raining down vicious punches to my face, over and over.

My friend came down from the bathroom but fled in fear as David continued his relentless attack.

David began stamping on my arms and I winced in agony as I heard and felt the sickening crack of my wrists breaking in two.

I braced myself for the end. This is it, he’s going to kill me. I thought. But then somehow, I summoned a strength and a will to survive and managed to escape.

I ran to my mum’s house and hammered on the door. But when she wasn’t in, a neighbour came to my rescue and called an ambulance.

In an excruciating daze, all I could think about was Jacqueline. I just wanted to hold her.

When I got to hospital, medics revealed I’d suffered nerve damage to my left eye and shattered eye sockets.

‘I’m afraid there’s a risk you may lose your eyesight,’ the doctor explained gravely.

Thankfully, after countless operations, surgeons were able to save my eyesight but I’ve been left permanently affected and now have to wear glasses.

David smashed both my cheek and jaw bones too and eventually, the thug pleaded guilty to serious assault and permanent disfigurement and in August 2016, he was jailed for four years.

Because of everything I’ve been through, Jacqueline has now gone to live with my gran while I rebuild my life.

My physical injuries are finally healed but the emotional scars still run deep. I still struggle to trust people and rarely go out to see friends. If I do leave the house, I’m on edge, constantly watching everyone.

They say that love is blind and it’s true. I simply couldn’t see what David was capable of until the day he nearly robbed me of my sight.

Now, I’m moving on without him and am looking forward to a brighter future - a future without David.

Diane was keen to raise awareness of domestic violence when she sold her story to That's Life! magazine. If you're interested in selling your story or promoting a cause or campaign close to your heart, why not give our team a call on 0117 973 3730.


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