Bereavement due to traumatic death

Marcus - Interview 38

Age at interview: 38

Brief outline: Marcus's fiancée, Louise, was murdered in 1987. Marcus was shocked and his life was shattered. He found help through friends, family, the police, psychiatrists and art therapy. Today he finds help by helping others who have been bereaved in this way.

Background: Marcus is a Property portfolio manager. He is single. Ethnic background/nationality: White British.

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Marcus’s fiancée, Louise, was murdered in 1987. She was brutally stabbed to death by a man who had recently come out of jail. Marcus met the murderer in a bar and during the next three days they became friends. The man offered Marcus some employment and so Marcus and Louise invited him to their home for dinner.
During the evening Marcus had to leave the house to make a phone call. They did not have mobile phones and there wasn’t a phone in the house. The man offering employment had asked Marcus to make the phone call. He claimed that he had an injury to his leg and could not walk without pain. While Marcus was out of the house the man they had befriended stabbed Louise to death. Marcus soon realised that he had been given a false phone number. He became alarmed and quickly returned home.
The murder was seen by a woman who lived opposite the house. Marcus thinks that she called the police, because as he left the phone box and returned home he saw the lights of the police cars. Marcus was arrested as a possible suspect and kept in custody for a short while, but the murderer was soon caught and Marcus was informed that Louise had died. This was shocking news and Marcus found it hard to believe it was true. Later he had to identify Louise’s body.
Louise’s funeral was held in a Catholic church. About 400 people attended the service. Louise was cremated and her ashes were buried in a London cemetery.
The man who killed Louise was charged in a magistrate’s court and then committed to trial at the Old Bailey. The trial was very short, about 18 minutes, because the man admitted he was guilty of the murder. He was sentence to life in prison.
During this terrible time Marcus was supported by family and friends. The police detectives were also very supportive and kept Marcus informed. They visited Marcus almost every night for weeks. Marcus was devastated by Louise’s death. His mental health suffered and he became very depressed, drank too much alcohol, and at times became suicidal. He thinks he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. He was treated by a psychiatrist. Marcus found some help by attending art therapy. A woman from Cruse visited once, but told Marcus that she would have to see him in the police station in future, because he was a man living alone. Marcus decided that he did not want to see her again.
Marcus still feels very sad and angry at times. He finds help by helping others who have been bereaved by murder or manslaughter. A year ago he was invited to join a workshop called ‘Escaping Victimhood’. This was a four day residential workshop for those bereaved by gun or knife crime. Marcus found the workshop very helpful. Similar workshops are open to others and they are run by the Capability Company.
Marcus was interviewed in 2009.


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