The wait was on for the next trial in January, I didn’t have much contact with police as my trial was over, I kept informed through my cousin.
I was able to get counseling through group therapy.. it’s amazing how much support and comfort you can get from people who have been through similar experiences .. although it was heartbreaking to learn that the majority of them hadn’t got justice either.
I convinced myself that as long as he would be found guilty and sent to prison at the next trial, that would be enough for me.
I had started worrying about the 2nd trial about 3 months before it happened. I was due to be a character witness at this one.
I made it to November, I began panicking about the new trial, what kind of questions would they ask me ? Would the defence call me a liar as he’d been found not guilty at the last trial? Would I be allowed screens again?
Christmas was a blur, am usually a huge fan but it felt like a countdown to January. Mercifully the trial was set for early January so not long to wait.
The next 6 months were a blur. Just before the first trial (3 days before) my mother in law was diagnosed with cancer. After the trial we discovered it was terminal. I threw myself into caring for her. Making her favourite food, trying to get her to eat and put on weight. I will never forget the shock in her voice at finding out the verdict. Nor the tears I cried realising she wouldn’t be here for the second trial. She died 2 months later.
I went back to work and tried to keep busy. Every time I had a wobble I thought, I HAVE to do this. I have to do it for the others. For those who got the not guilty verdict. For the others who might come forward once his name is out there. I listened to my court playlist a lot. In particular Praying by Kesha https://music.apple.com/gb/album/praying/1253656856?i=1253656863
I was tying myself in knots. What if he is found not guilty or the can’t decide again? My advocate (M) gave me an amazing piece of advice (Thank you -M). She said to me, “we don’t know what the outcome of the next trial will be. Whatever happens it will be over for you. He doesn’t have that assurance. And whatever happens, it will be the last time you have to be in the same room as him. He has no option to hear what you have to say. If there is anything you want him to hear, make sure you say it”. That REALLY helped me to reframe things. I began to think of what it was I wanted to say.
Every time anyone talked about Christmas my stomach lurched. After Christmas came New Year. After new year came the retrial. As Christmas got nearer I knew I would have to take more time off. I just couldn’t focus on work with all of this going on. Work were amazing. Incredibly supportive. I will always be grateful to them.
In January, in the weeks preceding the start of the trial, I decided to tackle the garden. It had become quite overgrown with brambles. I decided I would cut them back. I spent the next 2 weeks filling bags with thorns. I had to do it every day. If I didn’t I could feel the anxiety rise. Every day I filled up those bags, and took them to the tip. Emptying them out and driving away felt amazing. Really cathartic.
By the time the trial started the thorns were gone. I decided I needed to focus on new growth. I decided to put in a vegetable patch where the thorns once were. New beginnings.
When the retrial came, I was ready. I knew what his defence was (unless they went in a different direction) and this time I was ready with answers. Last time they threw the other abuse in my face, but this time I could say everything I had wanted to say before I had been lost for words.
The wait for trial 2 was as agonising as you would expect. It added extra pressure on my already worsening mental health. I was feeling upset and anxious. I felt hurt, like the first jury hadn’t listened to me properly.
I thought the second trial might be the same and the jury just wouldn’t believe the truth. It was so hard to continue with life until the next trial in January. I felt like my life had been on hold.
Then, 2 days before I went to court, my partner sadly was found dead in his flat. He’d had a heart attack. I was in shock. Totally lost and out of it. Yet I went into the police station the next day and listened to my video interview again and spoke to the police officers. I was on a complete daze. All I could think about was my partner and I was filled with sadness.
The next day I attended court and I told the jury the truth of what happened to me. I felt unwell all day and it was hard stood up for so long, yet I knew I had to do it. Not just for me but so no others could be victims of this predatory man.