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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 July, 2004, 23:34 GMT 00:34 UK
'I saw my boyfriend murdered'

Nadia Mitchell
Nadia Mitchell began volunteering with Victim Support after the murder
As two sets of annual crime figures are released, one woman who saw her boyfriend murdered told BBC News Online how she is trying to help other crime victims.

Nadia Mitchell, 26, says witnessing his death has moved her to want to establish her own support group for people who have lost loved ones through murder or manslaughter.

Nadia was enjoying Easter Sunday three-and a-half-years ago when tragedy struck.

She had headed out with her sister Galina for pub karaoke in Addingham, close to her West Yorkshire home.

'Big night out'

Dressed in 1970s outfits they met Nadia's boyfriend, Mark Webster, 21, and his mates at a pub.

"People were drinking and singing and just having a really good time," Nadia recalls.

"We decided to postpone getting an early taxi back because we were having a really good night."

They noticed a large crowd of people had gathered outside the pub as they moved towards the back entrance and they were just about to leave when the publican told them to get back inside.

He fell to the ground straight away, I looked into his eyes and it was as if nothing was there at all
Mark decided to leave.

"I remember shouting to Mark to come back but he just kept walking," Nadia said.

After a few moments she and her sister impulsively decided to follow him out to the pub car park at the front.

Nadia said she saw a jeep parked in the car park's entrance and as she moved towards the driver's side door Mark was struggling with a man they knew.

"There was a slow deliberate movement downwards and the next minute all I saw was blood over Mark's chest.

The Fleece Inn at Addingham
Mark was killed outside this quiet country pub

"He fell to the ground straight away, I looked into his eyes and it was as if nothing was there at all.

"People surrounded him trying to revive him, holding his legs up to stem the flow of blood."

Mark died instantly from a stab wound to his chest which severed his aortic artery.

Nadia reflected: "We were later told even if there had been a team of surgeons at the scene, they wouldn't have been able to save his life."

A man was later convicted of the murder of Mark in December 2002 and sentenced to life imprisonment.

"I still hate him," says Nadia.

"When I used to say 'hate' I usually meant dislike, but this experience has re-defined the word for me."

There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about it
"Mark had just turned 21, he was funny, outgoing and lived life to the full.

"He was always spending his money and not giving a damn.

"We had been going out for two years and eight months and we saw each other almost every night."

Nadia, who works as a police surgeon liaison officer, said to begin with she never thought she would ever live a normal life again.

"Trying to deal with it at first was horrendous," she said.

'Easier to cope'

"And there's not a day that goes by that I don't think about it."

But she counts herself lucky for all the support from friends, family, colleagues and in particular her adviser from the Victim Support organisation.

"You don't ever really learn to deal with it, you just learn to cope with it in your daily life."

Ultimately she decided it made sense for her to be a Victim Support volunteer.

"With my greater maturity I've found it easier to cope with my own bereavement," she said.

"I want to share the help I was given after Mark's murder from Victim Support.

"I now feel I can give something back from my own experience."

Murder verdict on knife killing
18 Dec 02  |  England

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