Don't let this happen to you - family of murdered Norwich mum Kerri McAuley issue heartfelt plea after her brutal death
PUBLISHED: 10:56 16 June 2017 | UPDATED: 08:10 17 June 2017
The devastated family of murdered mother-of-two Kerri McAuley have bravely spoken out to try and prevent future tragedies.
Ms McAuley’s former partner Joe Storey will be sentenced later today after being convicted of the murder of Ms McAuley following a brutal and sustained attack in her own home in January.
It was not the first attack she had suffered - sadly their 18-month on-off relationship had been defined by a “history of violence”.
Ms McAuley desperately tried to break free on a number of occasions but ultimately could not escape the clutches of her jealous, violent killer.
Ms McAuley’s family have given us permission to use pictures of the damage done to her following one of the many previous assaults by Storey she posted on Facebook shortly before her death.
Together with pictures of a bruised and battered face, Ms McAuley wrote a message which said her ex - who claimed to love her - “had beat and suffocated me until I almost passed out has left me with a broken cheek bone and a broken heart”.
Ms McAuley’s uncle Steven Roberts - speaking on behalf of Ms McAuley’s family, including her mother Lesley and brother Rory - said the family would urge anyone out there who is involved in a violent relationship not to suffer in silence but to seek help.
Mr Roberts, 50, said: “There are so many more Joe Storeys out there.
“The first thing is it’s not your fault. Seek help or the support of the police. We would certainly urge anyone in a violent relationship to seek help and go to the police or friends and family.”
But as well as reporting incidents to the police or confiding in friends or relatives, Ms McAuley’s family also urged those being abused to seek help and support from domestic abuse organisations like Leeway, which Ms McAuley’s mother Lesley is looking to work with in the future.
Mr Roberts said: “It’s just about getting the message out there for us.”
Ms McAuley’s family know that whatever sentence Storey is given today, it will neither bring her back nor end their own life sentence of pain and suffering.
But it will at least stop him doing it to someone else and prevent them suffering as Ms McAuley had.
Mr Roberts - who thanked police and family liaison officer Sean Baker for their support, as well as prosecutor Simon Spence - said: “They were chalk and cheese. In contrast to her murderer Kerri was compassionate, bubbly, had a heart of gold, was full of fun, full of love and full of life.
“She had a lot to live for. First and foremost, she was a wonderfully caring mother to her two boys. They remember her in two simple words awesome and everything. She was also a wonderful daughter, sister, auntie, niece and friend. She was very hard working. She was everything.
“He, on the other hand, was self-centred cold-hearted, threatening, aggressive, violent, drug and alcohol dependent - a thug but most of all ruthless. We know that because he had it tattooed across his knuckles...knuckles which he punched Kerri to death with.
“Kerri tried to get away after each beating, of which there were many, but unfortunately he was there to harass and stalk her with thousands of calls and text messages.”
Mr Roberts said the family would like to see stronger sentences given to those abusers on the very first occasion they attack a partner.
He said: “The first time should be the last time - there should be no more one more chance. We would also like to see tougher, longer sentences for those who assault there partners or ex-partners in the early stages of domestic violence.
“This will hopefully allow time for proper rehabilitation of the offender and also time for the victim to seek that support and move on with their life without being in fear for their life.”
Following today’s sentencing, Mr Roberts said the family would look to pick up the pieces of their lives with the continuing help and ongoing support of Ms McAuley’s friends - who he described as being a “rock” and a “great comfort” to his sister Lesley at this most horrific time.