Hartlepool woman battered by boyfriend relives her ordeal to help other domestic violence victims

A brave woman who was subjected to a six-hour long assault by her abusive boyfriend has told of her horrific experience in order to raise awareness of Clare's Law.

Thursday, 18th January 2018, 1:23 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th January 2018, 1:50 pm
Brave Kirby's injured face and arm.
Brave Kirby's injured face and arm.

During the prolonged and terrifying attack, Kirby Weegram begged Jonathan Graham to let her write a final letter to her family as she was being strangled and suffocated, believing she was going to die.

The 22-year-old says that if she has used Clare's Law to check his criminal past she would have known he had previous convictions for violence against women and she would have left him before he attacked her.

Another picture of Kirby's injuries and how she looks usually.

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Kirby suffered bruising on every part of her body after she was punched, kicked and beaten with a piece of wood following the attack at Graham's flat in Hartlepool.

Now Kirby wants to share her story in order to encourage other women to use Claire's Law, which gives any member of the public the right to ask police for full disclosure on their partner's past, and get out of violent relationships before it is too late.

Kirby, a carer, said: "I used Clare's Law after Jonathan had attacked me as I was curious to see if he had any previous convictions.

"I found out that he had previous convictions for violence against women.

Kirby and Graham in happier times.

"I only wished I had done this sooner because I would have left him straight away. I want to warn other women to use Clare's Law if they have any doubts about a partner.

"At first Jonathan was charming. I'd heard rumours about him being violent towards women but he managed to convince me they were lies.

"A few weeks in we started to argue. He was so different when we argued - he was like Jekyll and Hyde.

"I started to worry about his temper, and just before the attack I took extra shifts at work just so that I could avoid spending time with him."

Another picture of Kirby's injuries and how she looks usually.

The night she was attacked on August 19 last year Kirby had bumped into Jonathan on a night out and the couple argued before heading back to his flat, where he became violent.

Kirby added: "When we got in, I went straight into the toilet and he followed me in and punched me to the side of the head.

"I fell to the ground and he started kicking and punching me.

"I tried to escape into the bedroom but he followed me and pushed me onto the bed and tried to suffocate me under the duvet. He strangled me about six or

Kirby and Graham in happier times.

seven times.

"He said 'you are never leaving this flat, I'm going to kill you tonight'.

"I was in pain all over my body. I was trapped for six hours whilst he abused me both physically and mentally.

"He spat and me and threw things at me.

"I genuinely thought that I was going to die. I begged him to let me write a final letter to my family, but he said that I didn't deserve to do that.

"He told me 'you should be lucky that I'm not a sexual deviant or I would rape you'."

The 32-year-old bit into a wine glass and started chewing the glass whilst telling his terrified victim "this is how indestructible I am".

He also told her that he was going to kill himself and frame her for his murder.

It wasn't until Kirby told Graham that she had a shift at work that he decided to let her go.

He then followed Kirby as she walked home barefoot and bloodied, begging her to give him half an hour head start on the police.

The brutal attack left Kirby with lacerations and bruises over her entire body, as well as black eyes, popped nose and a haemorrhage in her left eye from the lack of oxygen due to strangulation.

Kirby added: "The law on suffocation and strangulation are nowhere near tough enough.

"In domestic abuse cases the psychological damage is often undermined by the physical damage - but is is the psychological abuse that will stay in your mind.

"I would absolutely encourage any woman who even hears a rumour about their

partner to get in touch with Clare's Law - if I'd done this then I would never have been in the position that I was.

"It could literally save a life.

"I was distraught he wasn't jailed for longer, ideally I wanted him to be away for life but I know that is unrealistic.

"I don't hate him, I genuinely want him to get rehabilitation because he is so damaged. I want him to be happy - but I know that it will never happen.

"I worry that once he is released he will strike again and I want to warn other women what he is capable of."

Clare's Law is named after 36-year-old Clare Wood who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 2009.

The initiative is designed to help women who believe that they may be at risk of potential harm by a partner.

Further details are available here.