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A domestic abuse survivor has told how her six-year-old daughter unknowingly saved her life by telling her teachers 'my daddy is hurting my mummy'.
Jodie Keegans, 36, suffered three years of possessive behaviour and extreme violence at the hands of her husband, Scott Keegans.
The mum-of-three was beaten so badly she believes the abuse would've had fatal consequences if her daughter had not intervened in October 2017.
Jodie's little girl told her school teacher: "My daddy's naughty. Daddy's hurting mummy by the birdy wallpaper.
"She says that she loves him but he carries on hurting her."
These comments were prompted after the six-year-old saw her mum being beaten in what the judge later described as one of the most 'satanic' cases he'd ever seen.
Jodie and Scott married in 2009, and according to the 36-year-old, everything started out well.
"It started off really good, he was a great partner and father in the beginning but about three years ago his possessive behaviour started to escalate," she explained.
"He didn't want me to engage with anyone, and would always question the kids, asking 'who did mummy speak to, today?'
"He used to tell me I was lazy and tell the kids 'mummy is useless'."
This progressed to Scott banning Jodie from working, having a mobile phone, see her friends or family - and she was even banned from attending her own sister's funeral after she tragically died in 2015.
The violence Jodie was subjected to was so horrific that she once tried to stick her ear back together with eyelash glue after he nearly ripped it off and refused to let her go to A&E.
Scott would regularly bite, punch and stamp on Jodie, leaving her with severe injuries including bruises and bone fractures.
In December 2017, Jodie suffered a final beating that left her fearing for her life. She said: "He swung his right arm back and beat me with it.
"He punched me, bit me and stamped on me. He ripped my hair as he told me he hated me. I honestly thought I was going to die, I was so scared and it hurt so much.
"His whole face changed, it was like he was the Joker from Batman. He beat me so badly, even on the soles of my feet, so I couldn't walk.
"It only stopped when he was tired and he told me to go to bed.
"At 9am the next morning, he told me to get up and go into the kitchen where he started to beat me again."
Days later, police appeared at their house when they missed social services appointment, after their six-year-old daughter told her teachers what was happening at home.
"As soon as I saw them I knew this might be my only chance," said Jodie.
"I did something I'd never done before, showing the two police officers my injuries and simply said, 'I think I'm a victim of domestic abuse'.
"The female officer said, 'Yes, you are. I've never seen anything like this'.
"I guess that was the first time I had actually admitted what was happening."
Scott had already fled the property at this point, but was later tracked down and arrested the same day. Last month, he was found guilty of six counts of assault, sexual assault by penetration and rape and sentenced to 18 years behind bars.
"It was definitely a nerve-racking experience facing him in court but it was the closure I needed to move on with my life.
"For him to get such a lengthy sentence was the best possible result," said Jodie, who merits her daughter for raising the flag in the first place.
"My daughter is my superhero for being brave enough to tell her school was was happening, which is when support services first became involved.
"She really did save my life."
Now, Jodie is using her experience to help others who have suffered domestic abuse, explaining: "I want to empower women, and men, to come forward. To anyone who has been a victim of domestic abuse, the help is there and it's amazing, you just need to take that first step and reach out.
"You just don't talk about it, you keep it silent, you keep it a secret, but there needs to be a spotlight shone on it to increase awareness."
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