'I will not let what he did ruin my life': Battered by boyfriend David McGovern, but Jade Pickersgill says she no longer feels like a victim
THE emotional and physical scars may never heal but she is slowly rebuilding her life.
Jade Pickersgill was battered by her boyfriend David McGovern as she lay in bed in an horrific attack that saw him sentenced to seven years in jail.
Now, at the time of year when domestic violence calls to police soar, Jade is appealing to other victims to speak out.
"Anybody who is suffering in silence should just speak to somebody they trust, whether it's a family member or a professional," she said.
One year on from the court case, Jade says her confidence has been boosted and she no longer feels like a victim.
"Sometimes, I look back and it's as if it never happened to me, it happened to someone else" she said.
"I do have my bad days but things are getting better."
Jade, 26, suffered a brain haemorrhage and spent five weeks in hospital after David McGovern beat her, stamped on her head and face and left her in a pool of blood in the middle of the night.
McGovern, 38, is now in prison after admitting GBH with intent.
He is likely to be released in 2014 and Jade fears the panic will mount as the months tick by to his release.
"When David was jailed, he said 'I'll see you soon', and a part of me does want to see him but another part of me wants to run away," she said.
"I wish it hadn't happened, but I think I would still be in an abusive relationship otherwise.
"I don't think David will ever fully accept what he did to me."
Jade has had a number of health problems since her ordeal in December 2010 and she is registered disabled as a result of the injuries inflicted.
Forensic evidence suggested a black motorcycle helmet, which was splattered with blood, could have been used to strike her.
DNA tests also showed McGovern had stamped on his girlfriend's head or face more than once as she lay injured and bleeding on their bedroom floor, drifting in and out of consciousness.
"After the court case, I caught tuberculosis and have been in and out of hospital," Jade said.
"My health is now my main priority. I still have flashbacks and, around Christmas and new year, it does affect me a lot more.
"I'm living in accommodation for women affected by domestic violence and the other girls know it's best to just leave me alone when I'm having a bad day.
"Silly things like The X Factor remind me of the attack, but I have made a lot of progress and I'm more confident around people.
"I'm still thinking about having counselling, which could help me, but it will be hard talking about what happened all over again."
Although it's a difficult time of year for Jade, she says she is finally feeling happier, has become closer to her family and has even bought a kitten.
"His name is Salem. It's nice to have something to give me a bit of focus," she said.
"I've wanted a kitten for ages and I will be staying at home to look after him a lot."
Jade said flashpoints and tension over Christmas and new year can cause relationships to explode into violence and she knows only too well how they can end.
She said: "There's a lot of added pressure at this time of the year. Everything from alcohol to getting dressed up for a party can start arguments.
"Women shouldn't let it get to the stage where they are being physically abused.
"I feel like a hypocrite because I stayed with David for so long but, if I could turn back time, I would have left sooner.
"I want David to know I won't let what happened ruin me."