Brave Northampton mum reaches out to victims of domestic abuse after her own abuser was sent to prison

After enduring mental and physical abuse for months she now wants to help those still going through it

By Max Pearson
Thursday, 20th January 2022, 5:38 pm

A brave mum from Northampton has spoken out about domestic abuse after her own abuser was sent to prison.

Now that the vile offender has been sent away, Hannah has reached out to other people going through the same thing. Using her own experiences, Hannah hopes to raise awareness of what abusive behaviour looks like, and what people can do to escape it.

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Hannah pictured with her youngest son Josh, who is two-years-old

Hannah said: "While obviously it's been a horrific experience, I feel like I have gained a lot of strength from it.

"I have received so much help from the police and charities like the Freedom Programme and the Sunflower Centre in Northampton.

"I want to share my story so that other people can see how far I've come and know that they can do the same."

Hannah met her abuser on night of her 30th birthday, not long after she had split with the father of her son.

Hannah explained: "At the beginning, he seemed wonderful, like all of my dreams had come true.

"My situation before wasn't great. My son's dad had decided to leave and I wasn't in a good place. Wykes then picked up on that and saw I was in a vulnerable position.

"I wanted that family unit so what he gave me at the time seemed like all I had ever dreamed of. It was only later that I realised what he was really like.

"I now know that this was 'love bombing', where an abuser showers someone with love and attention to appear like the perfect partner. Then they start to change once they have their hooks in you."

Over time Wykes' behaviour became more jealous, controlling and, ultimately, violent.

He began insulting her, calling her 'pathetic' a 'bad mother' and pressuring her to eat, only to then call her 'fat'.

He also made her install tracking apps on her phone and would become aggressive if she turned them off. Chats with friends were jealously monitored and the brute even interrogated Hannah's young children to see if she had been 'seeing' other men.

All the while, Wykes was beating the woman he was meant to care for. Hannah say at first it was a push, which grew into a slap and then many, many punches after that. All of them aimed at parts of her body where the damage could be hidden.

Hannah said: "He was so manipulative and so clever and so dark that, even though I am quite headstrong, he was able to knock all of that out of me, piece by piece over time.

"I was fully feeling like I couldn't survive without him. He even made a secret playlist on my Spotify that had songs he and I had liked on it, to remind me of all the 'nice times' we'd had, when really he did it all to control me."

All of that ended in the assault that got Wykes sent away, where he threw the defenceless mother down the stairs and beat her for nearly three hours. He broke her ribs and denied her hospital treatment for four days, saying it was her fault for 'letting him drink' and that she 'needed a cuddle' because she 'wanted attention'.

This became Hannah's breaking point and, despite an all-powerful fear, she called the police the next time Wykes was out of the house. The police acted swiftly and freed Hannah from her tormentor.

Hannah said: "That man is the scum of the earth and he does not deserve to breath the air we breath.

"I feel so much stronger now thanks to the amazing support I have received. I'm not even scared of him coming out now. When I saw his mugshot I felt nothing at all.

"Lots of people don't even realise they're being abused because it comes on little bit by little bit.

"I always thought 'why don't they just leave?' before it happened to me. It's never that simple. They need to find the strength to choose to leave. On average it takes someone seven attempts to finally get away.

"If telling my story achieves anything, I want it to show people that help is out there. Whether it's the police or a doctor or someone else in authority. They will help you and you can get away."

Hannah is now in a healthy new relationship and hoping to become a support worker for other abused women.

Anyone who feels they need help, they can visit the Northamptonshire Domestic Abuse Service online.

Hannah also recommends content from the Freedom Programme and the Sunflower Centre in Northampton.