A woman who faced the ultimate hell of being strangled and then buried alive by the man she once loved showed what a true survivor she is by clawing her way out of the grave she was left to rot in.
Stacey Gwilliam, from Swansea, South Wales, was left for dead by her cruel fiancee Keith Hughes, who in July of last year buried the brave 34-year-old on a beach on the Swansea Bay costal path.
Reliving her terrible experience on Good Morning Britain, Stacey explained to show host Piers Morgan how she had to use her fingernails to claw her way to the surface and escape the grave the 39-year-old bodybuilder had put her in.
The traumatized woman had previously been attacked by her sadistic partner in 2013. He was given a three-and-a-half year prison sentence, but Miss Gwilliam, who had received treatment for ovarian cancer while her partner was in prison, took Hughes back after he was released on parole because she was in love with him.
After she finally told Hughes she wanted to end their abusive relationship during a walk on a beach in Caswell Bay, South Wales, he turned violent and attacked her.
Following the attack, Miss Gwilliam recalls regaining consciousness and then slowly realizing with a gnawing dread that she had been left for dead and buried beneath a pile of dirt and foliage.
Feeling trapped and terrified, Miss Gwilliam explained how she could hear her heart beating like a steam-engine and hear the sound of the sea in the background.
“I could hear my heart beating and I could hear the sound of the sea in the background.
“It was like everything was in slow motion. All I could see were blurs of green and brown.
“I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t move. It was like I was paralyzed.
“I tried to get up, but couldn’t. I had to use my nails. That was all I could do. I tried to push but I didn’t have the upper strength.”
Through sheer tenacity and the will to live, Miss Gwilliam finally managed to claw her way to safety and stumble to a nearby golf club before she collapsed from sheer exhaustion.
Upon being discovered, she was rushed to hospital and put into an induced coma for nearly a month as her body recovered from the savage attack and trauma of being buried alive.
Miss Gwilliam still has to use a stick to walk, but it’s the mental scars which have left the most damage in the form of flashbacks and panic attacks.
When police arrested Hughes he taunted them, “You’ll never find her” but was shocked to be told, “She’s alive”.
Hughes was handed a life sentence for attempted murder at Swansea Crown Court in December for the attack, but he could be eligible for parole in just eight years.
Although Miss Gwilliam admits to being fearful of the day her former fiancee is released, she also stresses that, since the attack, she is in a “stronger place.”
“I feel frightened. But I’m going to be in a stronger place because I’ve got a lot of support.
“I do have hope for the future and it’s down to the support of family, friends.
“If it wasn’t for them I couldn’t have done this alone, but they’ve all been there for me.”
According to the Office for National Statistics, every week in England and Wales, two women are killed by their current or former partners. And one in four women and one in six men in the U.K. will experience domestic violence at some point in their lifetime.
In the United States, the statistics are even worse. On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men who suffer from physical abuse.
Statistics suggest that in America one in three women and one in four men have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner.
[Photo by David McNew/Newsmakers]