A woman has told how she finally introduced her kids to their grandmother after 11 years – when she escaped her controlling ex-partner.
Katie Royle, 34, said she was banned from having any contact with her relatives by abusive ex-partner Richard Martin, 56.
During their 15 year relationship she said he stopped her taking the pill, owning a mobile phone and even kept her in his work van during his shifts.
She lost contact with her own mum, Patsy Royle, 56, who never met her grandchildren.
Katie finally broke free in 2018 after going to her GP for help – and knocked doors in her are until she found her sister and mum.
She’s never looked back, and spoke to podcast Real Fix, which features real life stories, to encourage other abused partners to speak up and leave.
Speaking on episode two of the podcast, she said: “I had been living a nightmare for the last 15 years. I couldn’t do anything for myself – he had complete control over my life.
“It felt liberating to finally break free.
“The first words my mum she said to me was she knew this day would come.
“It had been about 11 years since I’d last seen her.
“We just cried and hugged.
“It was an isolated life where I had no friends, family, money – nothing really other than me and the children that was it.
“I didn’t want to have more children but had more because he wouldn’t allow me to go and get the pill from the doctors.
“I didn’t see my family and my mum never once met her grandchildren.
“Looking back at it now, I wish I’d got out earlier.”
The couple met in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, when Katie was 16 and Martin was 39, with the controlling behaviour beginning shortly after she had their first child, she said.
Katie was not allowed to return to work and they moved from their flat into a new house in Sandiacre, Derbyshire.
Katie became increasingly isolated when she wasn’t allowed her own mobile phone or money and was made to accompany Richard to work as a landscape gardener.
Eventually, she plucked up the courage to book an appointment with her GP in secret, and confided in her about what was going on, in 2018.
Social services helped Katie and encouraged her to contact the police.
“It wasn’t planned, I just got up one morning and decided that I needed to go and see a doctor,” she told the podcast, which features people telling their own real stories.
“I was worried about him finding me and following me and making me go back.
“I went to find my sister, I knew the road she lived on but I didn’t know what house.
“I knocked on doors, I finally found her – she told me where my mum lived.
Katie turned up to her mum’s house in July 2018 – after 11 years of not seeing her and described the reunion as “emotional”.
Richard was sentenced to two years in jail at Derby Crown Court for ‘engaging in controlling and coercive behaviour in an intimate/family relationship’ on November 29 2019.
Katie hopes her story will help other women recognise signs of abuse.
“I didn’t realise that what he was doing was wrong and I’m sure there are others going through it,” she said.
“There’s help out there, just have faith in people and reach out.”
She spoke to the team at the Real Fix podcast – which features real life people telling their own extraordinary stories in their own words.