Murder victim's mum speaks out to warn others of abuse
THE mother of murdered Swansea woman Kirsty Grabham has urged victims of domestic abuse not to suffer in silence.
Cathy Broomfield spoke out ahead of White Ribbon Day this weekend, when people are encouraged to wear a ribbon to show their opposition to domestic abuse.
Kirsty was murdered by her husband Paul at the flat they shared in Swansea, before her body was stuffed into a suitcase and dumped in woods near the M4 motorway.
Her mum said the family knew her husband would kill her and that he'd been violent before, describing their marriage not as a marriage of love but as a "marriage of death".
In an interview for the TV channel Crime and Investigation Network, Cathy opened her heart about her daughter and her murder.
She said: "Kirsty knew he was going to kill her. She knew.
"She wrote out her own funeral list, a plan of 10 things. She was absolutely terrified of him.
"She'd written it in her diary that she wanted to leave him."
She went on to urge other people in abusive relationships to seek help.
"Violence is just awful it can lead to so much heartache," she said.
"Nobody has to put up with it these days, there are enough places to go.
"I suppose it is hard for them to walk out but they have to be strong, especially if they have children, they have to think of the children as well as themselves."
Kirsty's husband Paul battered and strangled the 24-year-old to death in a fit of drunken, angry and jealous rage in March 2009 at their flat in the Mount Pleasant area of Swansea in a killing that shocked South West Wales.
He then crammed her "bleeding and still warm" body into a suitcase and hurled it into undergrowth, where he hoped it would not be discovered.
The killing happened 13 months after the couple — who both worked as prostitutes — got married shortly after meeting at a Bridgend brothel.
Grabham, aged 26, pleaded not guilty to murder, but was found guilty after a 15-day trial at Swansea Crown Court.
Mr Justice Butterfield imposed a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment on Grabham after describing the attack as "vicious, sustained and terrible".
The High Court judge also ruled that Grabham must serve a minimum of 19 years behind bars before becoming eligible to apply to the Parole Board for release on licence.
Sentencing, the judge told him: "You have been convicted of murder. Just over a year after you promised to love and cherish your new bride — you battered and strangled her to death.
"It was a vicious and sustained attack fuelled by the drink and drugs you had taken — and you committed that attack without any doubt with the intention of killing her.
"That was terrible enough, but Kirsty was not to have even in death the dignity and decency to which she was entitled.
"Instead you crammed her bleeding and still warm body into a suitcase and dumped her like rubbish in an area where you hoped her body would not be found for years.
"You then set about gratifying your sexual desires by visiting prostitutes and old girlfriends for casual sex.
"This was conduct that can only be described as cold, callous, calculating and utterly selfish — conduct that gravely aggravates the already serious nature of this offence.
"I have watched you throughout this trial for the merest flicker of remorse or regret in your eyes — but I have seen none."
Earlier this year Kirsty's mum joined the mother of 15-year-old Rebecca Aylward — who was killed in woods near Aberkenfig by ex- boyfriend Joshua Davies — to talk about the pain of their losses.
"It's just something that you never, ever get over, not even if you live to be a million," she said.
"It's in my mind every day. If I'm shopping in the supermarket and I see suitcases, I have to go up another aisle."
White Ribbon Day takes place on Sunday, November 25.