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Shortly after moving in with Neil, I received a package from my solicitor. In it contained al affidavit that had been submitted by my estranged husband.
I knew that the contents of the affidavit were derisive, but I was on so many anti-depressants and birth control pills that it was difficult for me to focus on all of the things that were being said about me. In the affidavit, Jon had made an Excel spreadsheet and recorded entries for money that he had Ďgivení me. What he failed to annotate, however, was the fact that any cheques that had been written to me were repayments of loans. Jon had also taken mail that had been sent to me, photocopied it, and put it into the affidavit.
Because I was so depressed, I couldnít read the actual contents of the letters and merely thumbed through the hundred or so pages of gibberish that I had been sent. The text of the affidavit itself was a work of perjury and libel. I promptly wrote my solicitor a letter, refuting the claims that Jon had made. I didnít realise until much, much later that my solicitors took all of the documents, filed them, and didnít do a damn thing in support of my case.
One thing in the affidavit that particularly perturbed me was the fact that Jon had contacted my good old ex-friend Elaine. She had apparently been quite talkative with Jon after, and possibly before, she had asked me to leave her home. During the conversation that Jon had with Elaine, it was revealed that we had worked and socialised together. I hadnít seen Elaine socially since she had made me homeless in July 1998, so I was therefore quite surprised to learn that Elaine had said such things to my estranged husband.
During the conversation that was included in the affidavit, Elaine told Jon that I was seeing Darren, that it was a difficult relationship, and the he was playing mind games with me. All of this was Elaineís opinion, and considering the fact that I hadnít seen her or discussed the situation with her, I donít understand how she thought she had the right to speak so frankly to my estranged husband and with such impunity.
The fact of the matter is that Elaine was projecting her own personal problems onto Darren and me. She was involved in a troubled relationship with a man and had transferred all of her problems onto my relationship with Darren. I was therefore hurt, but not surprised that Elaine would say such disparaging things about Darren when he had never been anything but nice to her.
One thing that I find to be particularly disappointing is the fact that Elaine knew very well that Darren was going through a psychological breakdown, was seeing a psychiatrist and taking prescribed anti-depressants. Considering Elaineís family history of mental illness and addictions, she of all people should have been a bit more sympathetic to what Darren was going through. In my opinion, Elaine was completely out of order to tell Jon that Darren was playing mind games with me. Elaine knew that Darren was ill and wasnít functioning in a way that would be considered normal.
Like Darren, Elaine suffered from panic attacks, claustrophobia, agoraphobia and other neurosis. Having two highly unstable individuals in such close proximity to me certainly took its toll on my sense of well being. To be honest, I am surprised that I coped as well as I did, considering the fact that almost everyone who I met had some sort of mental illness or addiction.
This wasnít the first time that Elaine had showed a lack of discretion. In fact, she had repeated things that I had told her in confidence on several occasions. Up until that point, however, the most severe thing that she had done was to announce to an entire table full of co-workers that my boss was having an affair with the old Managing Director.
I was appalled and embarrassed that Elaine would repeat such a thing that I had told her in confidence because it lead directly back to me and showed me in a bad light. Elaine was in a supervisory position at work and therefore should have known better that to repeat such things. It just goes to show that the level of oneís income or position in this world is not necessarily proportional to his or her level of maturity.
Because my boss at Snap-On Tools didnít like me taking time off work, I wasnít able to make an appointment to see my solicitors until after the New Year in 1999. By that time, Jane, the original solicitor, had left the company. Her replacement was an Asian male, who I couldnít help thinking had a very condescending attitude towards me.
During me first appointment with Bupendra, my new solicitor, I was made to feel inferior and embarrassed about wanting to get a settlement. Bupendra, made an appointment for me to see a barrister, Miss Evans, which took place in March 1999. On the day of my appointment, Miss Evans went through the affidavit that Jon had submitted to the courts with a fine toothed comb.
I felt that I was the one on trial, not Jon. Even when I explained to Miss Evans that the affidavit was merely stories that had been made up, she didnít seem to believe me. Miss Evans told me that during a divorce, it is expected that one or both parties will be harmed, so the emotional anguish and suffering that I endured was totally irrelevant and could not be taken into consideration when sorting out any financial settlements. She also informed me that if my case went to court, the most that I would get would be a couple of thousand pounds, which of course, would be eaten away by legal fees.
Miss Evans ended the meeting by telling me that I needed to think carefully about what wanted to do. That was absolutely the only legal advice that I was given.
Since I do not have any legal qualifications at all, how on earth was I expected to make a decision when that was the only advice given to me. There was never any mention about any alternative plans, such as legally pursuing the fact that Jon had committed perjury in the court document, stolen my post, libelled me, stalked me, and defrauded the British government. It seems ironic now that I was actually paying my solicitors to help my estranged husband.
I was very upset about the news that I received from the barrister. When I left the meeting, Bupendra made sure that he collected my cheque for £235, which was Miss Evansíes fee.
Bupendra ended the meeting on a cautionary tone by telling me to be careful what I did, as he could see that I was clearly very distressed.
When I left the solicitorís office I was so upset that I rang Jonís phone number and left a message on his answering machine. I said that I would give him what he wanted, which was divorce, but I would make sure that his employers, friends and family knew what he was really like.
Not surprisingly, the following morning I received a message on my mobile from Jon. He said that he was going to find me wherever I was and wreck havoc in my life. When I received the message, I went directly to the Basingstoke Police and reported it.
The police took a statement but failed to make any enquires or take any action. My concerns were not taken seriously. But were they ever?
It was also around this time that I spotted Glennys at the train station, obviously looking for someone, on my daily journey to work. I had no idea whatever she would be doing at the train station at 8:00 am in the morning and I can therefore only assume that she and Jon were conspiring to track me down for some reason.
In my anguish at having gone through all the trouble of a divorce, only to find that I would not be getting a penny, I acted in desperation. I wrote a letter to Jonís employer, his mother, his brother, and the two neighbours who lived either side of him.
In the letter, I simply stated what he had put me through during the course of our marriage, and nothing else.
Naturally, when Jon discovered what I had done, he hit the roof.
Jon phoned me at Country Casuals repeatedly and threatened me. I told him not to phone me again and that I was going to the police, Jon didnít phone my work again, but left a threatening message on my mobile. I didnít hear it all because I tried to listen to it in the middle of the town centre, which was bustling with activity. The only words that I could out were Ďsad fuckerí and Ďfat bitchí. I had obviously upset to him, which pleased me to no end that I could get my own back, just a little.
I didnít want Jon anywhere near me, so phoned the police. They told me that if Jon came anywhere near me than all I had to do was to dial 999 and they would come and sort out the problem post haste.
On the Monday morning, I phoned my solicitor, who wrote a very stern letter to Jonís solicitor. I didnít receive any more phone calls specifically from Jon after that point, but I have continued to this day to be plagued with nuisance calls.
One summer evening Jon followed my boyfriend and me into the Sainsburyís in Hatch Warren. Jon took a basked and nonchalantly toyed with the fruit in the produce section. When I laid eyes on my abuser and tormentor for the first time in over eighteen months, I was overcome with panic and insisted to Doug, my boyfriend, that we leave.
Doug humoured me and took me home, but honestly couldnít understand what all the fuss was about. I have no doubt that if Doug had his way, we could have all sat down and had a civilised conversation and even possibly a cup of coffee in the local cafť. Doug really didnít believe that Jon was dangerous, and couldnít comprehend why a man could evoke such terror in me.
On 13th August 1999, two days after the last solar eclipse of the 20th century, Jon and I would have been married five years. It was also the day that I was awarded my decree absolute.
It took me several weeks, however, to get my decree absolute because my solicitor had forgotten to send it to me when it arrived, which was just one more example of the appalling way that Clarke & Son handled my divorce. Shortly thereafter I received a bill from Clarke & Son for all the work that they said that they had done on my behalf, yet were still unable to get a settlement for me.
Because I was so worried about the bill, I initially agreed to accept a settlement of £1,000 just so I could pay my solicitor his fee for doing very little except for write a few letters. When it came time for me to sign the Consent Order, however, I just couldnít do it. In my heart I knew that all that I had gone through was worth more than nothing, which is what I would have received if I had done what my solicitor had advised me to do.
Even though the judge ordered Jon to pay the divorce costs, he has never given me one penny. Armed with the knowledge that Jon has never given me a cent since we met, I knew in my heart that even if I did sign the Consent Order, Jon would never give me the agreed amount of £1,000 plus the £600 which my solicitors said was the fee for the divorce.
It was also about this time I decided to move to Reading. I went by my old home on a few occasions to collect my post, but eventually I stopped doing even that. I received one letter from my solicitor asking me to please get in touch with him because someone had been sending post to me at the companyís address.
I had no intention of contacting the solicitor because I knew that he wanted payment of failing to secure me an appropriate settlement. The remaining residents of the house also received telephone callers enquiring about my whereabouts, but since I hadnít left a forwarding address, there was no way for them to divulge that information.
Clarke & Son also tried to contact me via e-mail, but I found this to be very distressing and subsequently blocked all of the future messages they sent to me.
Since leaving Jon in January 1988, I have had to live in the most appalling conditions. Because I could not afford a place of my own, I was forced to live with people who only wished to exploit me. The majority of the people who I lived with merely wanted my money and made me homeless practically the minute they sorted out their personal problems. Other individuals, however, were more disturbed and used me for more evil reasons, which has no doubt coloured my perspective on life in general.
My good old ex-friend Elaine had a whole string of psychological problems, which she projected onto me. When she was reunited with her estranged boyfriend, she made up all kinds of excuses as to why it was necessary for me to leave her house, but the bottom line was the she didnít need me any more. Even when I graciously bowed out of Elaineís life, it still wasnít good enough for her. She still felt the need to malign me to my co-workers, her family, and even my estranged husband even though I had told her in explicit detail all of the things that Jon had done to harm me.
Neil, another person who I had lived with out of desperation, used me to make his girlfriend jealous. She had refused to move in with him, so I was given the role of catalyst to try to prompt her into making a decision about their relationship. Neil made sexual advances to me on a number of occasions, which I didnít encourage. Even though he said that he wanted me in the house for company, he was so hateful to me that I didnít feel welcome there.
Almost every morning I woke up with my night-shirt hitched all the way up my body. One morning I even woke up with my night-clothes completely off! Since I have a tendency to dissociate, I have absolutely no recollection of the sequence of events that took place that lead to my night clothes being taken off, but can only assume that it had something to do with my landlord.
When Neil started insulting me in front of his friends and watching pornographic videos in the living room, I knew it was time to move on.
Even though I had nothing in the world and was forced to live in squalid conditions for the most part, I nevertheless tried to look to the future, which is probably the only thing in this world that kept me going during the distressing experiences that I was forced to endlessly endure.