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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 September, 2004, 14:05 GMT 15:05 UK
Victim's family back helpline cash
Melanie Crumpton, and her youngest son, Christopher
Melanie Crumpton, and her youngest son, Christopher

The parents of a newly-wed murdered by her husband have welcomed more funding for a free telephone helpline for victims of domestic abuse in Wales.

Julie and Colin Crumpton say their daughter Melanie, a mother-of-three, might be alive today if she had been able to turn for advice to a helpline.

The bilingual helpline launched in April will receive 700,000.

Melanie, 27, was strangled in January, four weeks after her wedding day. Her husband was jailed for life.

The Welsh Assembly Government is giving the extra money.

We tried to dissuade her. We did everything. But she couldn't keep him out of her mind
Julie Crumpton, Melanie's mother
Social Justice Minister Edwina Hart said on average 49 women a day contacted the helpline run by Welsh Women's Aid.

Melanie Crumpton, the mother of Jodie, eight, Dafydd, seven, and Christopher, four, was beaten and strangled by her husband Christopher Elsbury, 30.

Elsbury was sentenced for the murder at Cardiff Crown Court earlier this month. The court had heard how he had battered his bride and then strangled her with a beach towel after a row about him looking at other women.

The judge branded him an "evil man" and ordered he should serve at least 16 years.

"Mel was terrified of him," her mother told the BBC Wales News website

"She wanted to kick him out but she kept thinking it would all be OK," said Mrs Crumpton.

Elsbury had served time for assaulting Melanie before they married but she went back to him.

"We tried to dissuade her. We did everything. But she couldn't keep him out of her mind."

Mr and Mrs Crumpton, of Brackla, Bridgend, described the six years of violent abuse their daughter had suffered at the hands of her partner and eventual murderer.

"He threatened violence against the children. He would say to her 'I'm going to tie you up and make you watch while I slit your children's throats'".

Elsbury also tried to smother Melanie by putting a pillow over her face.

Melanie's sister, Carly, 24, described how she was too frightened to leave Elsbury.

"She was so terrified of him that when she found she was pregnant again by him she did not want to have his baby and she had an abortion".

The bilingual Women's Aid helpline is being relaunched in Cardiff Bay on Tuesday. Its extra funding over three years will mean women can seek support 12 hours a day, all year round.

Mrs Hart said combating domestic violence or abuse was a priority issue for the assembly government.

Memory

"In Wales alone, 26,854 domestic abuse incidents were reported to police during 2001 - 2002. Welsh Women's Aid figures estimate that one in ten women are severely beaten by their partner and 150,00 children and young people are affected by domestic abuse in Wales at any one time".

Melanie Crumpton's parents, now bringing up their young grandchildren and rebuilding their lives, will be giving their support at the launch.

"We're not T-shirt and banners people," said Colin Crumpton. " But we are doing this in Melanie's memory."

"A helpline this could have helped us help Melanie even if she could not have contacted one herself," he said.

And his wife added: "It's not just about our daughter. It could be anyone's mother."

"It's come too late for her, but it may help other people".

The Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline is on 0808 8010 800.


SEE ALSO:
Helpline tackles domestic abuse
06 May 04  |  Wales


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