Mother in care home and unable to speak after hammer attack by abusive husband
PUBLISHED: 08:18 07 October 2020 | UPDATED: 16:05 07 October 2020
A devoted mother is unable to speak and receiving round-the-clock care at a residential home after a vicious hammer attack by her abusive husband.
Sarah Crush is isolated from direct contact with visitors because of coronavirus, adding to the torment for her family, who do not know how aware she is of what is going on.
To offset some of their pain, members of the family have marked her 40th birthday by raising thousands of pounds for charities including Women’s Aid.
Mrs Crush suffered severe brain injuries when her husband struck her in the head with a hammer at least three times at their Oulton Broad home in September last year.
She was so close to death that her husband, Stephen Crush, called police telling them he had killed her.
He later pleaded guilty to attempted murder and, in January, was sentenced to 13-and-a-half years in prison for a vicious assault which took place while their nine-year-old son was upstairs.
But for Mrs Crush, described by her family as “thoughtful, caring and compassionate”, the events of that traumatic September evening have changed her life forever.
She is unable to talk, her hearing and eyesight remain severely impaired. She is incapable of living independently and requires 24-hour care at her Norwich care home.
Mrs Crush, who grew up in Old Buckenham, may occasionally receive visits from her son and parents, but they must stay outside and wave through her window in keeping with Covid-19 restrictions.
Her sister, Katie Middleton, said: “It’s difficult to know how aware Sarah is. She is a mum, daughter, sister, cousin, niece and loyal friend to many, and it is so cruel that her life has been impacted in this way.”
Mr Crush already had a conviction for assaulting his wife, who is one of countless victims of domestic abuse in the UK - a crisis that the coronavirus pandemic has only served to escalate.
During the first three months of lockdown, more than 40,000 calls were made to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline. The service, run by domestic violence charity, Refuge, saw an increase of 77pc in calls during June.
Moreover, an increase in violence has been endured by two-thirds of women in abusive relationships, according to an investigation by Women’s Aid in conjunction with BBC’s Panorama.
Mrs Crush’s loved ones have been doing something positive to mark her 40th birthday and the one-year anniversary of the devastating attack.
During September, family and friends ran, cycled or walked 400km in 30 days, while others did 40 miles in 40 days, or 40 push-ups every day for a month.
They were determined to do all they could to raise as much money as possible in honour of Mrs Crush, and to help others who find themselves in a similar position.
They have raised more than £17,000, to be split between key charities who have provided medical care and support for Mrs Crush, as well as those dedicated to spotting, preventing and dealing with such ordeals.
“All of these women are facing the same situation Sarah had to endure and are in urgent need of support,” added Ms Middleton. “Domestic abuse can escalate suddenly with irreversible consequences, and we must act quickly to help prevent tragedies such as Sarah’s from happening again.”
Lily Porter, senior fundraising officer at Women’s Aid, said: “With domestic abuse having increased during lockdown, it is more important than ever to provide vital support to those who desperately need it.
“We were incredibly sorry to hear of the violent attack Sarah suffered. Sadly, it is a story we hear all too often. Despite the tragic circumstances, it is heartening and inspiring to hear of the efforts Sarah’s family is making to raise important funds for charity.
“We are so grateful to be included as a beneficiary – donations from the public make a huge difference in our goal to protect women and children from domestic abuse.”
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