A woman who was brutally raped by her violent ex-partner has backed a police drive to tackle abuse during the World Cup.
But the Lancashire mum-of-two, who cannot be named, has urged people to remember victims are subjected to violence all year round.
Her harrowing ordeal started four months into her relationship, with her partner isolating her from family and friends.
The pretty 35-year-old, who has moved to her own home with support from Preston’s Women’s Refuge, said: “The first time it came out of the blue, we were falling out and he went for my neck and pinned me up against a door.
“It was a shock. I thought it was a one-off, as you do. He was all ‘sorries’, crying his eyes out. The flowers came, and he said he would never do anything like that again.
“I heard it so many times after that.
“He was very clever, he never did it in front of the children and never hit my face, the bruises were where no one could see them.”
The violence escalated to kicks, elbowing, and sexual abuse.
She tearfully recalls: “A lot of incidents are fuelled by drink, but the most chilling thing is most of the time he was sober.”
They split up several times but she returned, fearing repercussions for her family.
She says: “He would strangle me until I passed out. I had knives held to me.
Eventually she gained the courage to go the Preston’s Hope Centre and the police for advice and support and fled to a refuge.
“At first I wasn’t confident of the police, but they were brilliant with me. But I think the courts need to improve bail guidelines. He kept breaking his bail conditions. I was terrified.
“I saw a documentary about Jonathan Vass who killed the nurse Jane Clough and thought: ‘I’m going to be another Jane’.
Lancashire Police launched the “Ugly Consequences of the Beautiful Game” campaign because incidents rose a quarter during the 2010 tournament.