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Joanne's Story

When I left my ex-husband I was very lonely, I could hardly see, and I was trying to recover from a violent relationship.  I got a transfer from my job and moved far away from my ex as possible, to Croydon. 

I rented a flat, which is where I met Michael, who was living in the flat below at the time. I had a short relationship with him.  He did not have a proper job, so he started borrowing money from me, at that time I was in and out  of the eye hospital , I had  operation  after operation on my eyes, I had a stress related eye ailment. 

One day Michael took me to my bank, and told me to ask for a loan.  At that time I was registered blind, I could not read or write.  I had to retire from my work, and he took over, he took, all my savings, started to apply for loans, credit cards, putting his name down as the secondary card holder. When I refused to sign the application forms, he became, very violent. This went on for a long time.

Because I could not see, I was very afraid of him.  He was six foot tall and weighs about 16 stones; I am five foot and weigh 8 1/2 stones.   

He made me stop all my standing orders, he finished all my money, I was behind my rent, and hardly had any money to eat. He was drinking heavily, and he would throw things at me. I could not dodge them because I could not see...I had bumps on my forehead. It was like, I was in a glass tube and he was holding it in his hand, I could see the rest of the world, but could not get out of it... by this time he had moved in to my flat. 

When he could not get his own way, he used to put his hands on my throat and try to strangle me, this went on for a while, the first time I was shocked, but then I got used to things.  I used to count, how many times he would try to strangle me, after the eighteenth time, I lost count!

One day, when I could not take it any more, I went to the blind centre, and told them what was going on. I spoke to a guy who worked there, and he took me to the proprietor, Richard, who took me to the police.

Michael was found guilty of criminal damage (he kicked doors in, pulled door handles off), and common assault. He was fined and given community service.

The Police tried to prosecute him for fraud, and then they decided not to, because it went on for a long time, and would have cost a lot of money.

I am now left with 60,000 debts in credit cards and loans, and no money to pay for them, as Michael took all I had.

 

 

 

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