When Susan George, 44, met Michael Thomas she finally thought that her prays had been answered but her dreams quickly became nightmares…
“Come sit down,” a charming man with big blue eyes said.
“I’m Michael,’ he smiled, kissing my cheek.
‘Forward,’ I thought but I couldn’t help but feel flattered.
My friend Diane had invited us over for dinner and straight away I was drawn to Michael.
“I own a stable of racehorses,” he mentioned as the night grew to an end.
“Do you want to groom my horses?” He asked.
“When do I start?” I said giddily.
I loved grooming the horses and everyday I’d excitedly get ready in the hope I’d maybe bump into Michael.
I wasn’t looking for love but as the months passed I felt myself drawn to this charismatic man and eventually he asked me out.
It felt perfect.
I’d finally met the man who’d whisked me off my feet in a haze of fine dining and romantic weekend breaks.
After 8 months Michael and I moved into a rented house in the Welsh countryside.
For the next two years we’d spend our days, nights and weekends together.
I thought this was how it was meant to be, we were engrossed in each other but as time passed I started to see a side to Michael that I didn’t like.
“Who you talking to?” he’d growl when I was on the phone.
It started to make me feel hostile towards him- he was suffocating me.
“I need some space,” I said after another heated argument.
It was only when Michael was at a race meeting I turned on the television to see how the horses were doing that I froze on the spot.
Michael was holding hands with another woman.
Anger spread through me like wildfire.
Confronting him he confessed all, but begged for my forgiveness.
He’d had a one night stand with this woman.
But as stupid as it sounds now, I forgave him.
We plodded on for the next 6 months, but it wasn’t the same. I couldn’t trust Michael and started to withdraw from him.
During one heated argument he threatened to kill me if I ever left him.
This was my wake-up call.
He’s face dropped as he begged me to stay but I had made up my mind.
“I’m moving in with my sister,” I said hoping that Michael wouldn’t try to contact me.
It went quiet for a month and I counted my blessings for such a lucky escape.
But I was wrong.
Suddenly he’d park outside my house or turn up and bang on my door.
I began to feel like a prisoner in my own home
“I’m going to kill you,” he’d scream.
Panic rising in my voice I called the police but they told me there was nothing they could do.
But then everything calmed.
I thought maybe he’d vented his rage and he’d now moved on- like I had but I was wrong.
December, 28, 2008 will be a date that haunts me forever…
It’s funny the things that you remember. I’d had a bath and gone to bed in my bra and knickers.
Suddenly I was woken up by a loud bang and my Jack Russell began barking at the roof.
Pulling my dressing gown on I went downstairs to let my dog out.
He scurried into the garden and I made myself a cup of tea.
Opening the door I froze…
It was Michael…
Clutching a hammer and duct tape he charged at me.
“I’m going to kill you,” he shouted, grabbing my hair and clawing at my body.
Shaking with fear I collapsed against my kitchen work surface.
Trying to calm him down I offered Michael a cup of tea.
“You don’t want to kill me,” I stuttered, “have a cup of tea,” I soothed.
Convincing him that I needed to go up quickly, he let me go but as soon as I touched 9 on the phone he quickly changed again.
Grabbing me from behind he dragged me down my spiral staircase by my hair.
His cold, dead eyes lacking any emotion dug into my mind…as his hands clawed at my body.
As he raped me I tried to distance myself from the horror that was unfolding ‘ I’m not going to get out alive.’
‘My daughter is going to discover her mother dead, covered in blood,’ I thought.
Pulling me up, my body writhing in agony, Michael pushed me into the kitchen.
“I’m going to kill you then kill myself- the perfect crime,” he grunted.
My body was aching and shaking with fear, but I had an idea.
“I know you’re going to kill me but please can I have one last cigarette?” I begged.
Surprisingly he let me drive us to the local garage ‘ You better not say anything, otherwise you’re dead,’ he said.
Driving incredibly slowly, I wanted the police to stop us, but soon I was at the garage.
Trying to look incognito, I stuttered “Please call the police, I’m going to be killed”
Climbing back into the car, I tried to stay calm.
As the moments past I fluctuated between seeing freedom and my own death.
I contemplated crashing my car into the empty pub in front of me.
“If I am to die I want to die at my own hand,” I thought.
Glancing at my rear view mirror I saw it….
A car, hiding behind a hedge…
“You lying bitch,” Michael hissed as he saw my reaction.
My body paralysed by fear and shaking heavily
But I managed to propel myself out of the car and onto the road.
Looking up I saw six police men who were restraining Michael, eventually having to use pepper spray.
The aftermath was almost as bad as what happened…
Every time I’d closed my eyes I’d feel Michael’s tongue in my mouth.
He haunted my nightmares.
Sitting in the court room last year I gave my evidence.
Michael did a double take when he saw me, but his eyes still had the same cold dead stare.
It was only half way through my evidence that the court case was called off as several other women came forward.
‘I’ve opened up a can of worms’ I thought ‘I hope he rots in jail,’
Michael was jailed for 19 different sex and violence offences including 7 of rape.
He’d even raped one woman as her 2 year old son clung to her leg.
I also found out that the evening he’d raped me he had actually been hiding in my shed for about 10 days watching me, stalking my actions, knowing when I was in bed.
It still chills me and I know I will never be able to trust another man romantically again.
Michael was jailed for just 16 years, but could be out in 8 on good behaviour.
Trying to get past my ordeal I now counsel other rape victims and urge them to tell their stories- if not publically then at least in the court room.
Michael may have tried to ruin my life, but his devastating actions have helped me find my point in life, I am determined to not let him ruin my future.
*the picture shown above is not Susan’s shed.