A BATTERED wife who suffered 17 years of terror at the hands of her violent husband has spoken of her relief after he was jailed for 12 years for attempted murder
For the first time mother-of-three Catherine Beevers, of Dewsbury, has broken her silence about the horrifying catalogue of mental and physical torment she and her children were subjected to by brutal Astley McNamee.
The couple first got together when Catherine worked at Wakefield Prison and fell for inmate McNamee, who was serving 10 years for armed robbery.
Infatuated, she resigned from the maximum security prison and they married on his release - but the marriage soon became a violent and abusive nightmare.
"I believed that if I gave him the stable environment he said he had always lacked, he would be a changed man," she said. "But he was violent and abusive."
McNamee regularly threatened to kill his wife if she left him, and she was forced to watch in agony as her sons, now aged 14, 12 and eight, were tortured by their father.
The boys were attacked with a snooker cue, skipping rope and other instruments and forced to watch as their dad held a knife to their mum's throat.
The terrifying abuse came to a head when McNamee tried to kill his wife, an ex-headteacher of Islamia Girls School in Leeds, when she filed for divorce.
But as soon as she left McNamee he started plotting to kill her and get his revenge.
Her 49-year-old husband pounced on her as she checked on their home.
"That day he was calm and quiet. I was scared. I was filled with dread," she said.
"Wearing a balaclava and with a claw hammer in his hand, he looked into my eyes and said `I knew you would come. You're going to die today. You will never see the light of day again'."
She was then subjected to a harrowing hour-long ordeal inside the empty house - where McNamee had blocked the exits and covered up the windows.
McNamee tried to hang her on a makeshift gallows, after wrapping a cable around her throat, but it collapsed beneath her weight.
He tried to strangle her with the cord as she lay on the floor.
"I couldn't defend myself, there was blood all over the place, but he was relentless, determined," she said.
McNamee pleaded not guilty in a trial at Leeds Crown Court, that ended last week but was convicted by a jury.
His wife said: "I felt some relief hearing the guilty verdict but I've never felt safe. There is still that fear that he is there, that he will escape and find me."