A former teen beauty queen who once celebrated her age gap romance on Channel 5 show ‘Baby Faced Mums’ bravely told a court how the same man terrorised her for nearly five years as he was jailed for 22 months.
Crowned Teen Miss Lancashire in 2014 when she was 18, it was also the year when Madison Dunn, 25, was swept off her feet by family friend David Dunn, 46, who she fell for after they exchanged messages on Facebook.
She and the former salesman seemed like the perfect love match when a Channel 5 TV crew followed her pregnancy in 2015.
But their honeymoon came to a swift and terrifying end when, six weeks after their February 2017 wedding, Dunn dragged her downstairs by her hair and beat her – landing him in jail and triggering a terrifying campaign of harassment against her.
Now divorced, nearly five years later, with the safety of women brought into sharp focus by the murder last year of Sarah Everard, Madison says she feels let down by the justice system.
Madison, of Southport, Merseyside, said: “I’ve spent the last four years walking on eggshells.
“To me, it seems David sees restraining orders as personal challenges not deterrents.
She added: “I don’t feel safe. We need more to be done by the justice system to protect women.”
On October 5, 2021, Madison delivered a heartbreaking victim impact statement at Preston Crown Court, where Dunn was jailed for 22 months for further abusive behaviour. She revealed how in 2017 she was diagnosed with PTSD because of his actions.
She said: “As I wake up, I have to remind myself that my ex-husband is in custody and, therefore, cannot currently hurt me or my family.
“If I don’t tell myself that, I simply cannot function throughout the day.”
The bridal consultant also told the court his behaviour had “ruined my child’s innocence.”
Unwilling to give any details of their child, for fear of reprisals, Madison says since his first four-month custodial sentence for beating her in August 2017, the catalogue of incidents has been relentless.
They include ruining a family Christmas dinner by making bogus 999 calls and sending emergency services repeatedly to her door; pestering her with unwanted amorous calls after their 2017 split; posting damning fake reviews on her work website and even claiming there was a bounty on her head.
His most recent sentence – 20 months for breaching a restraining order, two months for failing to comply with a suspended sentence – with a further 20 months to run concurrently for harassment and breaching another restraining order as well as two separate three month sentences to run concurrently on two offences of harassment without violence – only gives her temporary relief.
The former model said: “I cried throughout reading my impact statement in court, but I wanted the judge to know how much this has affected my life.
“I have to look at the positives and think that at least for a short while I can carry on with some normality.
“But I don’t think there’s enough fear in him to take restraining orders seriously. It seems he believes if he breaches them, he can quite happily carry on living his life.”
Looking back, Madison now realises she was “love bombed” by Dunn when she first fell for him at only 18.
“David was more than twice my age,” she said. “I was so young and after our first date I really wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep dating.
“Then he started love bombing. He bombarded me with loved up messages, gifts and continuous praise – and I fell for it.
“We starred in ‘Baby Faced Mums’ in 2015, documenting my pregnancy as a young mum and we looked like we were unshakeable.
“We’d received a lot of hate in our relationship due to the age gap, but I loved him so much it didn’t matter.”
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All that changed when, in February 2017, six weeks after tying the knot, Dunn dragged her downstairs by the hair and beat her up.
“In April 2017 I got a call saying David was throwing all my belongings out of the house,” she said.
“I decided to stay at my mum’s and started packing overnight bags to leave the property, so he could calm down.
“But David was furious and grabbed me by the hair, dragging me down the stairs face first.”
She said: “At the bottom of the stairs, he continually punched me in the face and kicked me in the stomach. He was shouting and screaming at me.
“I was trying to get out, but he had locked all the doors. The next-door neighbours called the police, who got me out of the house.”
After he was jailed for four months for assault by beating at Preston Magistrates Court in August 2017, Madison left him.
She said, “I walked away from David and our marriage straight after the attack.”
But, seemingly intent on revenge after being released from prison, his vile behaviour continued.
Madison said: “We had all three emergency services turn up in the middle of Christmas dinner at my mum’s house – two fire engines, an ambulance and police.
“All these emergency services workers had been called and told to leave their families to attend a huge fire. About 16 people arrived at the house for a hoax call David had made.
“We were absolutely mortified.”
Jailed for 24 weeks by Preston magistrates two days later, for causing false alarm of a fire and wasteful employment of police time, Dunn petitioned for divorce in February 2018 – leaving Madison hopeful that his abuse would end.
But, when she rebuked his advances in January 2020 when he wanted to give their relationship another go, it began again.
“He said he’d been trying to win me back,” she recalled.
“I wasn’t interested, so he bombarded me with messages, emails, phone calls. I even had to change my mobile number.
She said: “I went to court and got a non molestation order in March 2020, but it didn’t stop him.”
Plaguing her with text and Facebook messages – often sent from fake profiles – he even claimed she had a bounty on her head.
“Literally, within a week of being given the non molestation order he had breached it,” she said.
“It has been non stop and it reached the stage where I felt like he was watching me everywhere and didn’t even feel safe at work.”
She added: “He left fake bad reviews about my work on Google and Facebook.
“I’m so lucky that my employer is so amazing. I’m shocked I still have a job”
Terrorised into kitting out her home with panic buttons and sensory alarms, Madison continued to report his behaviour to the police, who kept arresting him and taking him to court.
But she believes he regarded the restraining orders as a “badge of honour” which he delighted in breaking.
And by 2020, fuelled by the fact she had met someone new, rarely a day passed without her hearing from him in some way.
“I’m sure he saw breaking restraining orders and non molestation orders as personal challenges,” she said.
“He would message saying things like, ‘Watch the windows guys, I’m just around the corner.’
“It was just relentless.”
Terrified, Madison continued to report Dunn to the police, but when they tried to bring him to court for more alleged harassment, he led them on a wild goose chase – skipping a court appearance in January 2021.
Finally, in August 2021, he was arrested after she pinpointed his whereabouts on a campsite nearby during a Zoom call – leading to his current jail term and a seven year restraining order being imposed.
“He told me on a Zoom call with our child where he was,” said Madison. “I rang the police and they arrested him. I was just so relieved that they had finally caught him.”
But despite Dunn being behind bars, Madison fears she will never be free of him and says the current justice system is not doing enough to keep women safe.
She said: “When his behaviour started, I didn’t even know how to report it.
“I now know that if I’d reported him for harassment and not for breaching a restraining order, he would face a tougher sentence.
“I didn’t know until the latest court case that if I had given a victim impact statement in previous court hearings, he would have got a harsher sentence.”
She continued: “My whole adult life has been miserable because of David Dunn. I had a breakdown as I couldn’t cope and I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD.
“The justice system needs to be reformed, as currently if women don’t know the legal process they cannot protect themselves.
“I’ve had to educate myself and learn the law to keep as safe as I can. But I still live in fear of his behaviour escalating.
“I’m sure, as soon as he is free it will start all over again.”
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