Well where to start! Child hood could be a factor. Brought up in a home where the father has had a nervous breakdown and this resulted in a downward spiral to alcoholism. With all the nasty repercussions that follow. Where abuse physical, mental and sexual are the norm. I still count myself lucky as with the exception of the mental abuse there are others that suffered far more than even at a tender age I knew it was wrong, but had nowhere to turn. You know that the first words would be 'and what did you do to deserve this', absolutely nothing. You don't think that asking where do babies come from' wouldn't in cure the next four years of intermittent abuse!

This is followed by four relationships with one kind or another of these types of abuse!

It was the last one that caused the most financial trouble and this is the tale.

I met Mark in a pub that I'd gone to with a friend to celebrate New Year's Eve. We'd been having a great evening much better than either of us had expected. I'd got chatting to Mark towards the end of the evening and I wasn't drunk, I'm not a drinker. He asked for my phone number and as he seemed so nice I gave it to him. He called to say that he wouldn't be able to see me on the Tuesday and re-arranged the date. When we met up we seemed to get along really well, I liked his sense of humour and well he was just so nice!!! Sex was nothing to write home about but that as far as I was concerned was not a major factor in this relationship it was how I felt with him. Ho hum.

At first things went really well, going out for meals and doing things. Then he seemed to go off the boil and boy do I now wish it had!! In retrospect things began to pick up after I'd had to go home to pick something up and he saw my house, a nice large semi in a good location! He was living in a grotty bedsit at the time so it must have looked really good at the time. He occasionally borrowed money off me to pay bills as his credit card had been stolen and he was having trouble accessing his wages! Did alarm bells ring out, did they heck. He was working hard and although most of our social life was around the pub it wasn't a 24/7 thing, I'd had enough of that with the last male in my life. He'd been telling me how he'd had a successful business in Cumbria and what a brilliant roofer/builder he was and the guys he worked with agreed! A seed had been planted.

By this time we'd been going out for nearly 6 months and he suggested that he move in as it would save money for both of us. I really wasn't sure about this and again I wish I'd listened to my gut instinct. I'd bought a bed for his bedsit and that was supposed to come back with him and it never did. Now there's a surprise.

It was about this time that he started to make noises about setting up a business and how it would be successful, I guess he was playing on my need for financial security; dreams of being successful, maybe even greed!! But as was said to me at one point, people only see what they want to see, possibly/probably true but it wasn't a conscious thing on my part.

He moved in and things were bobbing along nicely. None of the really negative things were in evidence at this point.

Then he started on about starting a business with the right finance it would be a really good thing, an absolute winner! With his knowledge it couldn't fail. Like a fish to the fishing line, I got caught. He suggested that I remortgage my home by £70,000, so from owning 4/5 of my house, I owned a 1/3. Then the sublet pressure started all the time it was push, push, push. Get the mortgage through and start on my house as a show piece great thought I.

We arranged to meet with an accountant to help sort out the setting up of the company. I was persuaded to become a director as I wouldn't be liable for any debts that the company may run up. This turned out to be the biggest load of tosh ever. The accountant, lovely lady, said afterwards that she could see I wasn't completely happy with this (it was a bit late for that comment.)

Now at this point the pressure stepped up. We'll need tools and vans and things. Why don't you get these on your credit cards and as soon as the money comes through we'll start paying them off and we'll be ready to roll. Like the biddable lamb I'd become I started to do this. The money then came through and work started on the house. The kitchen was gutted prior to the new one being fitted, refitting ended up taking over 4months finished and never completely. The central heating refitting took 18 months being finished in time to sell. My wonderful bathroom conversion was never completely finished. Whoops I'm getting ahead of myself.

He then got two other jobs, one which was finished and looked really good and the second was going well. He'd employed people who he knew at the pub paying as I now know to some of them well over the odds. At this point the money was rolling in and to a point the fact that my house was coming second really didn't worry me.

I developed a neck problem with excruciating pain in my neck. I was off work for a month and going to a Chiropractor. I hadn't realised it, but that was when I lost any control over him with the company.

He then suggested a holiday saying that things were going well and the lad he'd employed could manage. Guess who paid as his card hadn't come through from the bank. We jetted out and had two weeks in the sun. It was then he asked me to marry him and I said yes. We'd get a token ring out there and get a proper one when the business took off. If I'd had the foresight I'd have bought the diamond one I'd seen, yet again I paid with all the usual excuses to follow.

When we got back it was all systems go, work on the second project was going well then he landed a job in Putney for a small loft conversion, which was going well. Also during this time he'd got to know the manager of large building suppliers. Without consulting anyone he agreed to reroof his house in Cornwall. Despite being told that he was expanding too quickly he, decided to go ahead. I asked him to delay this until the roof was on in the Putney job but no he went ahead.

So I was then left to deal with the flooding to the building when London had a freak storm and rain poured in to the house. Leaving the company to pick up the tab to redo a damaged bedroom.

He then managed to pick up another job to redo a basement. Despite the problems we had in Putney he also decided to help out a 'friend' whose house was in the Cotswolds. Nothing said to him would make any difference.   At this point things turned for the worse again. He and the supposedly trusty staff totally blew this job. Their behaviour got them banned from the local B&B. But it was everybody else's fault. At least one of them had the grace to be embarrassed.

He was still blagging how well the company was doing although the books were never in evidence, although the VAT was up to date. Then the Cotswold job started to go wrong. A combination of the friend meddling and Marks ego, not allowing him to admit he'd made a mistake.

This is when things went really wrong and his true self started to emerge. Things started to go wrong and instead of making a profit it began to lose money. Nothing any one said to him made any difference.

Gradually as things deteriated so did his behaviour. He started drinking even heavier, wetting the bed ruining my couch. His personal habits became something to despair of.

Things began to go downhill very fast. The bank became very unsupportive not saying anything to me. He had the bank books, the statements.

He exchanged my car and the replacement disappeared, this rendering me helpless on checking on what happened.

As things got worse he decided a week's break was what was needed!! We went to the Canaries islands. I couldn't think and no matter how close I was to the trees I couldn't see any wood.

When we got back things really hit the fan. We were due to go to my friends mothers 80th birthday party and the evening before, just as we'd gone to bed he turned to me and said that the company was going bust and he really didn't care. I lost it big time!! I've never been physically aggressive but it's a good job he was wrapped in a duvet because I went for him. Everyone's dreams, me, the staff, the guy who he'd promised to go into business with refurbishing houses (with an input of £16,000 I suppose I was going to supply that) all out the window with one indifferent comment.

After that he really got sneaky. He began hiding mail, account statements, money began to go missing. Not content with milking me, he stole from me £3,000, which went missing from my personal account. £5,000 I paid into the company to pay for my bathroom went missing. I started to pay them off again, but they pushed me once too often and they were told to stand in line for the company to pay this, this is something I would never have done before I always paid my bills.

I had the bailiffs turn up and gain entrance to my property. I had to pay them, he kept saying I'll pay you back………stand in line sunshine, stand in line. Afterwards I worked out I'd paid his tax bill!! My brother bless his heart lent me the money otherwise I'd have lost all my things.

I thought maybe at times that it was me being a pillock and not using my brain, if it wasn't for the fact that some of the staff, and one good friend of Marks, fought hard to get back on track to no avail. Mark began disappearing and couldn't be contacted. The main first job was left abandoned. I found out after that he even had the cheek to go in and remove flooring material for another job that the woman had paid for.

I was also contacted by the guy from the building company who'd left his job and returned permanently to Cornwall. He was looking for Mark as he'd agreed to go into business with him and was going to input £16,000! Mark didn't have that sort of money as far as I knew and I told him that. He was gutted as he was on the brink of signing for a property to refurbish and was banking on Mark's money (most probably mine as there were some hints about 'us' going into this project, at this point I went deaf) to complete the deal.

Michael, Marks good friend tried his hardest to get him to see sense, but everything he tried to get Mark to do Mark let him down. Lied bare face, disappeared.

During this time we had wills made and at that point I was gong to leave him a third of my house. For some reason when I said this I was looking at him and something went click, I couldn't put my finger on what it was, but I never signed the will.

When things went really pear shaped after his statement that the business had gone. Things really came out of the woodwork. £5,500 that I'd paid into the business account to get the VAT paid to us was never paid to the plumbing company; they were chasing me for the amount. I had a tool hire company rep turn up threatening me with court for non payment. A guy from a waste disposal company for non payment of £1,000+. Jewson's demanded £35,000 or they would make me. I wouldn't mind that quite so much, but they were actually investigating Mark for fraud at the time and were trying to frighten me into paying it. It nearly worked but I'd managed to find a company that dealt with insolvency and they explained what I had to do and they were well worth the £25 it cost. Thank you ladies.

I was under constant pressure from so many different directions. I was having trouble paying the mortgage, credit cards, banks were being bloody minded just when I needed leeway. As a result my work suffered and I ended up taking redundancy. The only benefit from that was I was able to clear a lot of debt that had accrued. My career never picked back of and am now temping, not that that's doing well in this climate.

I took out a loan to help me out until I sold the house which sold for less than it should have as it wasn’t finished.

Mark still hung around, I told him I wanted him out, but got nowhere. The atmosphere in the house was horrible. He pushed too far one night when he told me, not ask, that he had two friends coming to stay for the night. I said no. That led to a big row. I told him to go, he said no, so I went to phone the police. He grabbed my wrist to get the phone from me hurting my wrist, I yelped. Matthew, my son, had started to come down the stairs and said I told you not to hurt my mum. At this point Mark started a fight but didn't recon on me trying to rearrange his personal bits to get him off Matthew. At this point he went out of the door. I realised that he was going to take my car, no way, I went to get the keys off him and he forearmed me out of the way to get the car. At this point I called the police, they were really good. They took a statement and left. At this point my other son, his girlfriend, a mate and my ex partner turned up to see if they could help. Things calmed down, most of them left leaving my two sons and Luke's girlfriend. I locked up and we went to bed. It must have been five minutes later I heard the front porch doors clunk, I'd locked them and had never given Mark a copy of the keys so he couldn't get in. Before I could even get out of bed he'd started to smash the door in. I called to the boys to call the police and I could hear him mimic me as he decimated the door finally throwing a brick at the front door leaving a big dink. The police recon he had been watching until things went quiet, thinking he'd be able to get back into the house.

The car he’d taken, turned up 5 days later he'd been sleeping in it and had been arrested for sleeping in it and theft, which he got away with

  1. Set me up for a milk cow
  2. Milk me for as much as possible, it took me a long time to realise that he kept a subtle pressure upon me the whole time to get what he wanted
  3. Use my money, property and car as if it was his own
  4. Left me to deal with all of the mess incurred. Letting me tell the staff that the company had folded.





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