WARNING: Distrubing content:
A UK man who was violently assaulted, stabbed and burnt by his abusive girlfriend has revealed for the first time the extent of his horrific injuries in a documentary.
Alex Skeel, 22, was “days from death” when police arrived at his home in June 2017. This led to an investigation and the arrest of Jordan Worth, who was the mother of his two children.
Worth was the first female in the UK to be convicted of controlling or coercive behaviour and grievous bodily harm.
Published in NZ Herald
Now, Skeel has re-lived his horrific five-year ordeal in new BBC Three documentary called Abused By My Girlfriend, where he details how he went from a carefree teenager to being an abuse victim.
Alex was a typical football-mad 16-year-old when he first met Jordan at a concert in June 2012, and he soon fell in love with her.
“She was very caring, confident, loving,” he says of his former partner. “She just showed a real interest in me.”
However, Skeel’s mother Ged noticed her behaviour changing not long after the pair got together.
“The longer they were together, and as the relationship grew, the mind games started playing,” his mother recalls.
Skeel explained that Worth’s controlling behaviour started small, starting with his looks.
“[Jordan would] say, ‘I don’t really like the colour grey, I don’t think you should wear the colour grey’,” Skeel says.
“‘I don’t like your hair like that, you should have your hair like this. I don’t like the shoes you’re wearing.’ But I never took it as a negative.”
It was also revealed that there were times when Worth did bizarre things such as disappearing from a hotel when the family treated her to the night at the theatre in London. Her disappearance sparked a frantic search before she reappeared in the hotel lobby an hour later, “just laughing”.
There was also a time she ruined Skeel’s 18th birthday party by “screaming abuse” at a female family friend who she had grown jealous of.
However, Skeel brushed her erratic behaviour and family concerns off, admitting: “I was a bit clouded by what happened because at the time I loved her.”
When Skeel broke things off with Worth, she dropped a bombshell revelation that she was pregnant and returned to his life a year later with baby Thomas J (“TJ”) who was born in May 2014.
It wasn’t long before the young couple were back together and despite his hopes that she had changed, the controlling behaviour soon reappeared.
“[Jordan] just got back into his head to the point where you couldn’t do anything to stop it,” Skeel’s friends revealed.
Before long, Worth gave him an ultimatum and was forced to choose between her and his family, which resulted in the young couple moving into their own home in July 2016.
Skeel was 19 at the time and hadn’t spoken to his parents for two years, even when the couple had their second child, a little girl called Iris, in May 2017.
Things went from bad to worse when Worth forced her boyfriend to change his phone number and threw away his PlayStation console to cut him off further from his loved ones.
She even went as far as setting up a fake Facebook account where she would send abusive messages to his friends in a bid to isolate him further.
Years later, when police questioned Worth, she would blame it on Skeel, saying: “He made it very clear he never wanted to see his family.
“He said he hated his family and he doesn’t want to talk to his family. He wants nothing to do with his family.”
Over time, Worth became more controlling to the point where she stole his wallet and forced him to quit his job so he could accompany her at university every day.
Skeel reveals it got to a point where she was attacking or assaulting him every day and she once made him swallow an entire packet of sleeping pills.
One day she attacked him with a broken hairbrush, breaking his tooth in the process.
“I had no money, I didn’t drive, so in the end I just ripped the tooth out,” Skeel says
He also recalled how being hit with a hammer or knife became part of daily life.
“I’d be asleep and she’d smack me in the head and I’d look in the mirror and I’d just be bleeding,” he says.
“I wasn’t eating properly, she didn’t let me. She made him sleep on the floor instead of the bed.
“I could feel that my body was starting to shut down. I didn’t want [my son] to get hurt, so I was fighting to keep going because I didn’t know what would happen if I was to leave.”
Some days, Worth poured a kettle of boiling water over him, causing her boyfriend to scream in pain as the skin hung off his arms and back.
“She would wait up all night with a kettle of boiling water and if it went cold she would just wait and reboil it,” he recalls.
A few days after one such attack, Worth slashed her boyfriend’s hand with a bread knife and police were called, not for the first time, by their worried neighbours who heard Skeel shouting: “Leave me alone, stop hurting me.”
When Sgt Ed Finn, of Bedfordshire Police, arrived at the scene he remembers how, despite there being “blood everywhere”, the couple both insisted that Skeel’s numerous injuries were self-inflicted.
Officers took Skeel to hospital to fix his badly burnt arm, but Worth came in and walked him out of the hospital even though the surgeon, who could sense something was wrong, tried to make him stay.
“It’s strange, because it was the right time and the right place but I didn’t say anything,” Skeel recalls.
“I kept saying I did it to myself. I was scared of what she was going to do.”
But a few days later, when Sgt Finn got a call from the couple’s address, he seized the opportunity to take action.
“As soon as I saw him in the light of day, the state of him in terms of countless injuries all over his body the fact that he had these horrible dirty clothes on… he was pale, thin. I thought […] he was being abused,” he recalls.
Worth seemed “very slight, well spoken, very polite, to all intents and purposes a very nice lady”, he says.
Sgt Finn was able to persuade Skeel to reveal what was really going on – and finally arrested Worth on suspicion of assault and grievous bodily harm (GBH).
When they managed to get Skeel to hospital, doctors said he was just “10 days from death” in his physical state, by which point his burns had become infected.
Bodycam footage and police tapes from the day he was rescued show the 21-year-old looking alarmingly frail, covered with bruises and dressed in bloodstained clothes, unable to make eye contact.
In his interview, when asked by an officer how he feels about moving forward, he replies: “I just don’t want to get hurt any more.”
Alex returned home to his family where he was reunited with his children and, in September 2017, Worth was charged with 17 counts including GBH and controlling coercive behaviour.
On 13 April 2018 Worth was given two seven-year sentences for wounding with intent and GBH to be served concurrently at Luton Crown Court.
She was also handed a consecutive sentence of six months for controlling or coercive behaviour, becoming the first female in the UK to be convicted of this charge.
“When the police found me I was told I was 10 days away from death,” says Skeel.
“I was in love with Jordan and it took me a long time to have the courage to say she was abusing me.
“The day that she [went] to prison I felt so free. It was a massive relief. I remember just saying, I can actually look over my shoulder now for the first time in five years without worrying.
“Now that I’m free from the relationship, I’m beginning to understand abuse better. And I hope I can help others understand it too.”
Alex now coaches a football team sponsored by a domestic abuse charity and talks to professionals to help them spot the signs of abuse.
“The memories will never leave me but I’m learning how to cope,” Skeel says.
“I have so much support from my friends and family and I’m building a future for me and my kids.”
Published in NZ Herald
22 February 2019
If you’re in danger now:
• Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours of friends to ring for you.
• Run outside and head for where there are other people.
• Scream for help so that your neighbours can hear you.
• Take the children with you.
• Don’t stop to get anything else.
• If you are being abused, remember it’s not your fault. Violence is never okay
Where to go for help or more information:
• Women’s Refuge: Free national crisis line operates 24/7 – 0800 refuge or 0800 733 843 www.womensrefuge.org.nz
• Shine, free national helpline 9am- 11pm every day – 0508 744 633 www.2shine.org.nz
• It’s Not Ok: Information line 0800 456 450 www.areyouok.org.nz
• Shakti: Providing specialist cultural services for African, Asian and middle eastern women and their children. Crisis line 24/7 0800 742 584
• Ministry of Justice: www.justice.govt.nz/family-justice/domestic-violence
• National Network of Stopping Violence: www.nnsvs.org.nz
• White Ribbon: Aiming to eliminate men’s violence towards women, focusing this year on sexual violence and the issue of consent. www.whiteribbon.org.nz
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