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среда, 4 января 2017 г.

The Jigsaw Murderer. Marriage to the man who’s now serving life for murder turned out to be a nightmare

When Jenny Morse*, 31, met Stephen Marshall, she thought she’d found The One. But marriage to the man who’s now serving life for murder turned out to be a nightmare...

I look at my life now and wonder how it all went so wrong. I had so much going for me - a beautiful son, a career in modelling and ambitions to become a psychologist.
Today, I live alone under a false identity. Too traumatised to hold down a job, I spend my days in hiding, fearful of every knock on the door. The few friends I have know nothing about my former life. Not even my own family knows where I am.
Why? Because I married Stephen Marshall, now infamous as the Jigsaw Killer. Just a few years ago I was living in fear of his beatings every day. Now, after testifying against him in court, I'm terrified he'll take revenge, even though he's locked up for life.
In January this year, Stephen, 38, pleaded guilty to the murder of Jeffrey Howe, a quiet, kind kitchen salesman whose dismembered body parts were found scattered across two counties.
I suffered at Stephen's hands for six years. I lost two children because of him. Maybe if I'd been stronger, if I'd gone to the police sooner about his violence, he'd have been caught quicker, and that man might still be alive today. I have to carry that guilt with me every day.

Jenny felt forced into marriage with Stephen
I met Stephen at the gym he owned in St Albans, Hertfordshire in September 2000. I was a model and he offered me free training in exchange for doing some publicity shots for his business.
Just 21, I was a single mum juggling a job with a college course in psychology and caring for Ben*, my 18-month-old son who had been diagnosed with autism.
Powerful, charming and popular, Stephen seemed to know everyone. When he paid me attention, I was flattered. I'd never been in a serious relationship before and he swept me off my feet.
He treated me to lunch and gave me lifts home, coming into my flat to check I was looking after myself and my fridge was full of healthy food. At the time, I thought it was wonderful he cared. Looking back, he was already starting to take control.
We became a couple three months after we first met. The following October, we moved in together.
I'd heard a few rumours about Stephen's past, and a couple of times he bragged about his connections to a notorious London criminal gang called the Adams Family. They've been linked to the drugs trade and 25 murders. He said some jobs he'd done for them had turned violent. "It's all in the past now though," he'd insist. Stupidly, I believed him.
He told me he'd started a new life, and he was so kind and caring that I couldn't imagine him ever being violent.
At first, he lavished attention on me and Ben, encouraging me to do up our family home in Harpenden, Hertfordshire. But he didn't like me going anywhere without him and hated being disturbed by my friends and family calling round.
I just thought he loved us spending time together. I didn't realise he was gradually isolating me.
Just weeks after we moved in together, Stephen began to change. Instead of nights in, he'd disappear to the pub. Then he openly started doing drugs, snorting lines of cocaine off the coffee table, and he'd watch porn so violent it made me feel sick. I wondered what kind of man I'd got involved with, but I'd started losing touch with my family and friends so I had no one to turn to and he no longer had to keep up the charade.
One night, just a month later, Stephen had been drinking and taking drugs during the day, but seemed fine as we watched TV that evening. Suddenly, he grabbed me by the neck and tightened his grip until I couldn't breathe. My screams turned to squeaks as the air was forced from my body. He was silent, his eyes full of fury.
'He's going to kill me,' I panicked. All I could think of was Ben, asleep upstairs, as I began to slip into unconsciousness. Then Stephen let go, but he wasn't finished. He held a knife to my throat then beat me to a pulp.
"Why are you doing this?" I cried.
Stephen didn't answer. Beating me until dawn, he broke my nose and gave me two black eyes, as well as countless cuts and bruises.
"If you grass me up, I'll have you hunted down," he hissed. "I'll get rid of you and Ben for good. No one will ever find you." Eventually, he passed out.

Social services believed Emma was at risk
Grasping my chance to escape, I hauled my broken body into the street. A passer-by called the police, and I was rushed to Luton And Dunstable Hospital, while a social worker cared for Ben.
Looking back, I can't believe I didn't leave him there and then, but I was terrified of what he was capable of. And part of me believed it was my fault.
As the doctors treated my wounds and the police tried to take a statement, all I could think about was Ben - Stephen's sick threats echoing in my head.
Because I was too frightened to press charges, Stephen was released from custody. When he came to collect me from hospital, I started shaking.
Quietly, he blamed the attack on drink and drugs, vowing to get clean. "It'll never happen again," he promised.
Like so many women in violent relationships, I convinced myself it was a one-off. But every night, Stephen came to bed with a meat cleaver, tucking the blade between our bodies.
"I'll make sure no one ever finds you if you leave me," he'd whisper, instead of wishing me goodnight. And if there was any chance I doubted his threats, his bedtime stories consisted of boasts about his murky underworld work - how he'd chopped up bodies gangsters wanted rid of. It was then he told me he'd spent time in prison for offences including possessing a firearm and assault.
"I'll cut you up if you ever leave me," he threatened.
He'd demand sex, beating me if I refused.

At first Stephen was kind to Ben
One of the symptoms of Ben's autism is that he can shout and scream uncontrollably. So when one night, Stephen told me I had to keep him quiet or he'd shut my son up himself, I realised I had to get him out to protect him. I arranged for Ben to be taken into residential specialist care to support his autism - and to keep him safe.
Watching him leave, I felt like the sadness would never end. At least I was able to visit him every week, away from Stephen. I lived for those days. Ben's smile was all I had to look forward to as I became more like a robot than a woman.
When I realised I was expecting Stephen's child, I was devastated. I didn't want to bring a baby into such a violent relationship, but Stephen wouldn't allow me to have a termination. And when he revealed he'd put his gym in my name to avoid it being taken away because of his money worries, I realised he was never going to let me go.
He insisted we got married to protect his finances and I was too broken to refuse. I was five months pregnant when we were married in August 2002. Wearing a simple white dress, I blinked back tears of sadness as I whispered my vows. Signing the register was like signing a death sentence.
Stephen's control over me increased when I became his wife. He kept me prisoner, locking the doors when he went out or taking me with him to work.
I gave birth to our daughter, Emma*, in December 2002.
Stephen's probation officer found out he'd been mixing with his old criminal friends again, and social services believed Emma was at risk. They decided to take her away.
As they lifted her from my arms, I could hardly believe I'd lost another child because of this man. But I was too broken to ask for help. Kissing Emma goodbye, I choked back tears of frustration, vowing to her that I'd get out too. I owed her that much. And a few months later, when Stephen was jailed for assaulting someone at the gym, I grabbed my chance.
Packing a bag and precious photos of Ben and Emma, I fled to a hostel in London. I was free for the first time in years. But I still felt like a prisoner. I barely slept, convinced Stephen was going to turn up and drag me home. Or worse.
My fears were justified when, a few months later, he used his criminal contacts to track me down. He broke the news that my 20-year-old brother, Ed*, had committed suicide. I was devastated and Stephen preyed on my vulnerability, promising he'd changed. I went back to him but, inevitably, the abuse began again. This time, instead of being scared, I was angry.
I'd enrolled on a psychology degree at the University of Westminster and was forging a life of my own. I knew I had to find the strength to leave him for good. Calling him at the kitchen shop he was working at, I told him I was at the airport. He was furious and demanded I come home, but I refused.
I spent a month in France with friends, ignoring his calls. Landing back in London, I went into hiding. For three years, ¿I rarely went out, except to visit Ben, scared someone was looking for me. I kept my head down and studied hard.
The biggest sadness came when I discovered Emma had been adopted. It broke my heart. But she deserves to grow ¿up free of her father. I hope she understands that one day. Then, in April last year, Stephen caught up with me. His picture was plastered across the newspapers - he was accused of murdering his colleague Jeffrey Howe.
I'd met Jeff at the shop he'd worked at with Stephen. He was quiet, a loner, and would have been easy prey for my husband. It was time for me to speak out. Emerging from hiding, I went to the police and told them everything.
I was terrified, but I knew I had to do it. Five months later, I appeared behind a screen in St Albans Crown Court to tell the judge what I'd gone through and how Stephen had told me he'd cut up bodies before.
The court then heard how Stephen and his new girlfriend, Sarah Bush, 21, had been living with Jeffrey at his flat in Southgate, north London. In March 2009, Stephen stabbed Jeff to death and butchered him into pieces before withdrawing cash from his bank account and selling his car on Ebay to buy clothes, food and cocaine.
His horrific crime was discovered after members of the public found Howe's body parts strewn across Hertfordshire and Leicestershire, dumped in fields and by roadsides.
Stephen pleaded guilty to murder and was jailed for a minimum of 36 years, while Sarah was jailed for three years and nine months for perverting the course of justice.
Before sentencing, Stephen confessed to dismembering the bodies of four men who had been killed in the '90s. Police are now investigating these cases.
Even though he's behind bars, I'm still terrified Stephen will send someone to punish me for my betrayal. Knowing that, and living without Emma and Ben, is my life sentence, along with the guilt I feel for Jeff's death.
I'll always be Stephen Marshall's prisoner."

The facts

Stephen Marshall, 38, from Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, befriended Jeffrey Howe when they worked together as kitchen salesmen. Marshall had a history of drug and alcohol abuse, and connections to the criminal underworld, working for the Adams Family as a corpse butcher.
Prostitute Sarah Bush,21, became Marshall's girlfriend in 2007, after he paid her for sex. She was found guilty of perverting the course of justice for her role in distributing Howe's body parts. She was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison.
Loner Jeffrey Howe, 49, worked as a kitchen salesman. He lived on his own and was described as a "loving and devoted son", calling his mother every day. Now known as the 'Jigsaw Man' after his remains were found distributed across two counties.
Also known as the A-Team, the Adams Family are a north London gang suspected of involvement in drug trafficking, armed robbery and murder. At the height of their notoriety in the '80s and '90s, they controlled most of the cocaine, cannabis and Ecstasy coming into London.

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