My Mother, Pauline Benton

My mother was killed by my father in 1978. I don’t have a photograph to upload but she was a beautiful woman and a good mother.
I was only 10 years old when she was killed and it caused my family so much heart ache it was unreal.
To the outside world people thought my mother was happy. She didn’t tell people how sad she was in her marriage. My father drank alot, was controlling and never showed her any affection. In 1978 there were no refuges or support. She didn’t have the funds to leave my father and her only way out was to find another man.
My father beat her up when she plucked up the courage to tell him that she wanted out of the marriage. She told him she was seeing another man. He threw her out of the house and then asked her to come back to talk.
She went back to talk and he made her a cup of tea. He stabbed her in the chest whilst she was holding the cup. He pulled the knife back and twisted and stabbed her again to make sure she was dead. He walked back into the lounge, smoked a cigarette and the telephoned her father to let him know what he had done. He was sober that day.

My Victim impact statement:

I did not feel any immediate sense of loss. I lived with my mother’s parents and tried to help them through their trauma. They said I was lucky I was too young to understand. They said they could never forgive my father for what he had done. They didn’t understand what I was going through. My emotions were torn in two. I didn’t get the chance to express my feelings to any professional and I was too young to know that there was support out there for me.
They had lost their daughter and told me it was the worst thing that could happen to any parent. I felt sorry for them and tried to be good and helpful to make up for what my father had done. I carried his shame and guilt.
I had lost my mother and father, my home, my dog, my friends, my school, my whole life was instantly wiped away but I forgave him and visited him in prison. I just wanted our lives to return to normal.
My father pleaded not guilty to murder and guilty to manslaughter. It was seen as a crime of passion. He played the victim and still does to this day. This led me to believe he had accidently killed her. I thought prison was a place to serve a punishment and I had no idea how his actions would impact on my life.
We went to live with his sister after a year, whilst he got weekend releases. After 18 months in prison he was released. The house had been sold and he got to keep all of the money from the sale. Had they have got divorced my mother would have got half the money and would have been in our lives.
Living with the man who murdered my mother wasn’t easy but I thought I had nowhere else to go and just wanted to appear to have a normal life. No professional checked to see how I was coping and it was never mentioned at school. I was led to believe we had to pretend we were ok and things would be ok.
I went off the rails as a teenager, abusing solvents and beating people up. I was then involved in abusive relationships myself. I didn’t start to grieve for my mother until the day my son was born, 12 years after she died.
As an adult I read all the statements, autopsy reports and newspaper articles and I realised he had got off with murder, benefitted financially and just wanted to sweep what he had done under the carpet.
He got a new wife and lived happily ever after. I learned about domestic abuse and homicide and the impact it had on children. It was my therapy to learn and my aim was to help to support others.
Uxoricide is the term used for when father kills mother and I have probably done more research on this subject than any other professional in this field. I also work with young boys who have been effected by domestic abuse and now display negative behaviours, its a therapeutic group with plenty of fun activities too.
I have three lives, one where I am just like everyone else getting on with life, family, work, campaigning for human rights and the status of women and the need for change, shopping, housework, etc. Another where I live life for today, I laugh and joke and forget my life. And the third where I feel angry, down and withdraw from everyone and despite my efforts over the years the latter life is like a hidden disability that society doesn’t recognise. One I have learned to live with.