A mother-of-two was left with horrific injuries and large bruises after her boyfriend tried to make her ‘ugly so no one would want me.
Jenna Hurley, a mother-of-two from Preston Lancs, through she finally found the right person for her when she met Mark Whiteside.
But the 28-year-old was left unrecognizable after Mark tried to gouge her eyes out.
In an interview with Fabulous, Jenna said: “Now he’s out, he could be looking for his next unsuspecting target. I wouldn’t want another woman to go through what I did at the hands of that monster.”
It was in 2017 when Jenna first met Mark through a mutual friend. “Charming, easy to talk to, attentive, I was besotted, in a bubble with him,” she recalled.
“He literally swept me off my feet. I remember telling all my friends I didn’t know men like him still existed.”
Mark was also great with her daughter, who was three at that time. “From the moment I’d introduced him to her, he’d been amazing. She’d taken an instant shine to him, calling him Markey,” Jenna said. “He painted her bike, covered it with her favourite Disney princess stickers and fixed stabilisers. She was made up.”
Three months later, Jenna realized she was pregnant. “I panicked, taking a deep breath I phoned him at work and told him. He paused and said ‘OK let’s talk about it when I get home’, I went the rest of the day worrying. But when he came over later, he hugged me. Smiling he said ‘now we’ll be a family’.”
But Mark lost his job a few weeks later and Jenna, who was working two jobs already, was worried about their financial stability.
“I offered to help him update his CV but suddenly his eyes clouded over and he snapped at me, accusing me of being a nag,” Jenna said. “I was taken aback, but afterwards he apologised, saying he didn’t know what had come over him.”
That’s when Mark’s grim side started to surface. He began calling her names and criticizing her.
“When friends asked me to meet up he told me, ‘why would you want to do that? You’re pregnant. You don’t need to go out,’” she expressed. “On the rare occasion I did venture out, the backlash afterwards hardly made it worth it. So I tried not to do anything to displease Mark.
“But when I got upset because he was going out with his mates all the time he blamed me, saying it was my hormones.”
One morning while making a cup of tea in the kitchen, Mark suddenly approached her with a face like thunder. She was 32 weeks pregnant at that time.
“He lunged at me, demanding the money.He marched me to the bank in tears and stood over me as I withdrew it for him,” she said.
“I knew his behaviour wasn’t right, but having split from my little girl’s dad I didn’t want another broken relationship, not with a baby on the way.And naively I even thought that when she arrived everything would be OK. ”
Jenna gave birth in May 2018 and said Mark was amazing with their child. “As he held her, he looked every inch the proud father and I told myself everything was going to be OK. My Mr Perfect was finally back.”
He even proposed to her a few weeks later and she said yes. But his nice guy act faded away.
“He became increasingly paranoid, constantly checking my phone and he was forever shouting at me,” Jenna said.
Their daughter was 6 months old when Mark finally got a job. “I thought things would calm down. But he’d disappear on nights after work, leaving me alone with the girls. As far as he was concerned mums didn’t go out, while he could do whatever he wanted.”
Jenna then had a routine smear test and had some abnormal cells removed. “Afterwards, I felt sore and the way Mark was acting I didn’t feel like having sex with him. So he grew even more convinced I was cheating.”
The atmosphere became tense in their home that Mark decided to turn his phone off to ignore her messages.
When he came home after midnight, “He flew at me, clawing at my eyes. He hissed ‘I’m going to make you so f***ing ugly no one will want you’, as his fingers dug in,” she said. “Shaking with terror, I was petrified he’d blind me.
“I begged him to stop but he began hitting me over and over again, then he dragged me face down onto the floor.”
Jenna ran into the kitchen when she managed to wriggle free but Mark caught up with her. “He put his hands around my throat and began to squeeze. As his twisted face glared at me, I had visions of myself dying right there on the kitchen floor.
“Then his grip loosened and, as suddenly as it had started, his attack stopped. He sank to the floor and began to cry. Trying to keep my voice calm, I told him I was going into the garden for a cigarette.”
Jenna then ran to their neighbor and asked for help as she contacted 999. Paramedics and police soon arrived and Jenna was rushed to Royal Preston Hospital.
Mark received 14 months in prison and a 5-year restraining order.
Despite her trauma, the mother-of-two is determined she won’t let her ex ruin her life. “I’ve since had counselling and realise how lucky I was to survive. By telling my story, I want to raise awareness of domestic violence.
“If you are with someone who is possessive, controlling and making you feel scared, be brave and leave.”
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