Mother of murdered Norwich mum Kerri McAuley remembers their last ‘very special’ Christmas together
- Credit: courtesy of McAuley family
It was a time of love, laughter and light that defied the dark shadow over Kerri McAuley's life.
But the joy of a family Christmas did not last, and within a few days Kerri was murdered by her abusive ex-boyfriend Joe Storey.
Today, her mum Lesley tells of the 'very special three weeks' spent when Kerri and her two sons moved into her Norwich home at the beginning of December 2016 after another beating from Storey.
Lesley, who lives with partner Tony Mitson-White, remembered the night before Christmas, saying: 'She had her arms around Tony. She just told him how much love and respect she had for him and about how she would always class him as her dad.'
On Christmas Day she said her daughter's boys were busy unwrapping presents when, in the background, their mummy said 'don't forget about me'.
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Lesley said: 'Kerri was full of a love of life, a sociable, fun girl with a heart of gold, who was a loyal friend who touched the lives of so many people.
'Above all of her great qualities was her love for her children; she worshipped them and lived for them. They remember their mummy as awesome and everything. We were blessed to have had her in our lives.'
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On December 30, Kerri moved back to her Southalls Way flat, determined to start afresh without Storey - Lesley said she 'didn't want her to go back but she said she would be fine'. But nine days later she was battered to death.
Lesley said her daughter had talked about moving on with her life and taking control again, having arrived at her mother's home a few weeks earlier after the latest beating by Storey.
She said: 'She was safe when she was here. He couldn't get to her when she was here.'
Just before Christmas, the family arranged for Storey to collect his things, and thought he had gone back to Dorset.
But Kerri did not tell her mum that she was out with him the night before her death. She said she called her daughter that night and got a call back minutes later to say she was out for a drink with a couple of friends.
Lesley said: 'She didn't tell me she was with him.'