AFTER four years of violent abuse at the hands of her ex, Debbie Ann Jones took the brave step to press charges after the most recent vicious attack, which led to him being deported to the UK last week.
Now she wants to use her experience to inspire other victims to take action before it’s too late and things escalate to a potentially fatal conclusion.
The 40 year-old singer had only been in Benidorm for two weeks after moving to Spain for a new start,when her 45-year-old partner – who cannot be named for legal reasons – beat her before attacking her 54 year-old brother Michael Edwards, who is registered disabled.
Speaking exclusively to Euro Weekly News, Debbie took the courageous decision to share her horrific experiences to help raise awareness.
“I want to tell my story, not for myself, but for others who may be suffering. Nobody deserves to go through violence.”
Debbie had recently divorced when she got together with her unemployed partner, and at first everything seemed rosy. But things soon changed.
“It started off with him chucking a cup at the wall and escalated from there. I really wish I had seen that as a sign, but he apologised and that was that.
“Things escalated from there. We had been together for about a year and were arguing when he starting pulling my hair. He said he was sorry, that it would never happen again and I believed him.”
But three months later, the violence stepped up to a terrifying level. Debbie was singing at a holiday park and her partner was sat right next to her, using his laptop. She asked him to move while she was performing.
“When we got back to the house, he shouted ‘who do you think you are, telling me what to do?’ He smashed the mantelpiece above the fire, then literally punched me in the face and dragged me around while I was on the floor.
“It was a violent attack. My daughter, who was 18 at the time, came downstairs and that’s when he stopped and ran out of the house. I don’t know why I didn’t ring the police. I tried to see the goodness in him, and I loved him. He kept saying sorry and that it wouldn’t happen again, just like before. I didn’t want anybody to know.
“I never knew when he was going to get violent, it wasn’t drink-related and could be every couple of months, or nothing for three months.
“It wasn’t drink related. He was very controlling and jealous and by my side 24 hours. I was often scared to use my mobile phone.
“But in public he was the perfect partner, he was like Jekyll and Hyde. I tried to be the perfect partner for his sake.
Debbie and her brother sold their flat in Wales and they all moved to Benidorm on November 1 this year for a new start.
“I believed my ex when he said it would be different, I wanted to believe him.”
But just two weeks later on November 15, Debbie asked her partner to come home at 9pm so they could watch the last night of fiestas’ fireworks display from the balcony.
When he hadn’t come home, Debbie and her brother decided to go to Planet Benidorm.
“He found us and was shouting ‘where have you been?’.
He was asked to leave because he was causing a disturbance. I walked home with my brother and when he came home minutes later I just knew something was going to happen.
“He just completely lost it and smashed my wooden coffee table and the leg came off. He came over to me and punched in the face, on both sides.”
Her brother Michael lay over Debbie to protect her.
“My ex lifted the leg and hit my brother twice in the head with the metal bracket end. There was blood was everywhere.”
Debbie called an ambulance and because it was an attack the police arrived, too.
The attacker was kept in custody until a court appearance the following morning.
“The officers asked me if I wanted to press charges and I said yes. I knew it would be murder next. We gave statements and were in court by 11.30am. The police and justice system were brilliant, really on the ball.
“At Benidorm court before sentencing on November 29, he was sitting opposite me, and I felt physically sick, I was shaking and broke down but the officers were brilliant and helped me through it.”
The aggressor was given a suspended sentence of two years and nine months, cannot contact Debbie for nine months nor Michael for three years. He was also deported to the UK.
“I feel relieved but just keep questioning why I put myself, my brother and my daughter through it all. They wanted me to leave him. I’m going through the aftermath and putting myself on trial.
“I don’t want this to happen to anyone, man or woman. Anybody is going through abuse should run, get out of the situation and call the police immediately after an attack. I can’t stress enough that it’s important to trust and believe in yourself and the system, because it works.
In Spain victims of domestic/gender violence can call 016 for multilingual help and advice 24 hours a day.