'10 days from death': Male domestic abuse survivor describes horrific ordeal as former girlfriend is jailed

Tom Embury-Dennis

A male survivor of domestic violence said he was "10 days away from death" after he was repeatedly physically and psychologically abused by his girlfriend.

Alex Skeel was battered, stabbed, burned, denied food, forced to sleep on the floor and kept away from his family by Jordan Worth before he was finally rescued by police last year.

The 22-year-old is now urging other victims to speak out after Worth, also 22, was jailed for seven years after pleading guilty to GBH with intent at Luton Crown Court.

Worth, of Stewardby, Bedfordshire, was given a further six-month sentence for coercive and controlling behaviour. Police said it was the first such conviction in the UK where the offender was female.

The couple had known each other since they were 16, but during the last nine months of their relationship, Skeel said Worth subjected him to a "sustained and prolonged" campaign of abuse.

"I thought my limbs might have to be amputated," he told the Daily Mail. "I had open burns. I lost three stones in weight. I went from 10 stones down to seven. It was awful. It was three years of mental abuse and then it turned physical."

He added "I was infected from the burns pretty much all over my body. Luckily they managed to treat it."

Skeel said he suffered four years of mental abuse and "the physical violence happened for about nine months".

In a separate interview with the BBC, he said that on one occasion she told him her mother had received a message saying his grandfather had died.

After watching him break down and cry for two hours, he said she told him it was not true and berated him for caring about his family.

On a separate occasion he said he woke up after Worth had beaten him on the head with a beer bottle. Then, he said, she chased him and hit him on the hands and face with a hammer.

Police were eventually alerted to his situatioin by a neighbour who heard shouts coming from the couple's home.

Ambulance staff took Mr Skeel to hospital with injuries to his hand and burns on his arms and legs. The court heard Worth had thrown boiling water over him.

Despite his injuries, Mr Skeel said he returned to the Stewartby home he shared with Worth.

It was only after the intervention of a police officer, who persuaded him to reveal what was really happening, that he felt able to tell the truth.

"I want to tell my story. I don't want one more person to suffer what I've gone through," he said. "The hospital told me I was 10 days away from death. I believe the reason I survived to tell my story is to help others going through a similar ordeal.

"I would urge anyone in the same situation to ask for help. Bedfordshire Police were fantastic and I do believe they saved my life."

Speaking after the conviction earlier this week, Detective Chief Inspector Jerry Waite said: "We are thrilled with this conviction. The sentence handed down reflects the gravity with which these offences are viewed.

"Coercive control is subtle - it isn't always obvious what's been happening and may escalate over a period of time. The victim may not immediately recognise the behaviour as abuse. The desire to control often underpins abusive relationships and can lead to violence."