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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 December 2005, 15:17 GMT
Murder victim was devoted mother
By Catherine Cashmore
BBC News

Rachel Hudson
Ms Hudson seemed happy when she called her grandmother
Murder victim Rachel Hudson suffered months of torment at the hands of her in-laws because she could not bear to leave her two children and escape, her mother and grandmother have said.

Neither knew that she was being systematically abused by her husband Craig Hudson, his parents and a brother.

She sent letters urging her family to leave her alone and telling them untruthfully she had run off with another man.

Her own family last heard from her five months before her death.

"Rachel was a very caring mother. She wouldn't have done anything to harm her children and she wouldn't have left them there", said her mother, Helen Woodier.

"That's why she stayed - she died for her children.

"All she wanted at the end of the day was a normal family life with her own family - she chose the wrong people."

If you wake in the night you can see her there, tied up, being beaten and you keep thinking, 'why, why didn't I know something was going on?'
Doreen Peacock, grandmother

Her grandmother, Doreen Peacock, added: "She had a happy frame of mind. She was always on the phone happy and laughing and pulling my leg.

"You can't sleep, if you wake in the night you can see her there, tied up, being beaten and you keep thinking, 'why, why didn't I know something was going on?'.

"Why didn't I go and help her? But we didn't know it was going on. I had no idea."

The last recorded sighting of Rachel alive was in a video message - a forced confession claiming she wanted to kill her children, had stolen money from her husband and caused trouble in the family.

The Hudsons forced her sit in front of the camera to insist she was all right and to back up their claim that she had left their family of her own accord.

They claimed she had abandoned her family to run off with another man, and they knew nothing about what had happened to her.

"You tend to think she's a grown woman, she's got her life to lead, you can't always be interfering with them," said Mrs Peacock

Police checks

"She knew she could come to us for anything, but she couldn't because they took everything off her, took her phone, her shoes, fastened her in a bedroom - she couldn't get out.

"There was nothing she could do and nothing we could do because we didn't know."

Efforts to check on her welfare were thwarted.

Rachel wrote to her father in January 2004 begging him to stop sending the police around.

She wrote: "You must stop sending the police to the Hudsons' house. They have done nothing wrong.

"Please leave me being your lost little girl alone... If you start causing trouble for me I'll make sure the Hudsons make trouble for you."

She sent the same letter to the Hudsons' solicitors, police and Nottingham City Council social services.

In a statement Nottingham City Council said: "Contact with Rachel Hudson by City Council staff was limited.

"The city council did have a range of involvement with the wider family over a number of years through different departments, including housing, social services and education.

"Our attempts to provide them services, seek information or intervene in activities were often resisted by some family members, who on occasions have threatened our staff with violence."

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