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Real Life

REAL LIFE: I poured my heart into my husband when he got cancer, then he tried to kill me

I’d stuck by him through thick and thin, but I needed to break free.

By As told to Take 5

Bridie Tedford, 64, Melbourne, Vic.

I screeched with laughter as my new husband, Albert, grabbed the knife and pressed it against my chest.
"Help!" I laughed.
It was our wedding day and we were posing for photos after cutting the cake.
Albert had a wicked sense of humour sometimes, and I was delighted to be marrying him at last.
I was in my twenties when we'd first met through my ex-husband.
When I'd divorced, Albert and I kept in touch and later started seeing each other.
"Whatever you need, I'm here for you," he promised.
His love made me feel so much better about myself.
Now, at 53, I could finally call Albert, 67, my husband.
I'd also become his carer when he'd been diagnosed with rectal cancer and needed a colostomy bag after surgery.
He was sensitive about it at first.
When a friend made a joke about it, Albert attacked him and rubbed the bag in his face!
As much as I hated to admit it, Albert could be nasty at times.
One day at the local club, a mate of his grabbed me as I walked past the dance floor and twirled me round.
It was a fleeting moment, but I paid for it later.
We knew each other for a long time.
"You're a slut!" Albert roared when we got home.
He eventually apologised.
"I can't help it," he sighed. "You're the love of my life. I don't know what I'd do without you."
We also had our good times, travelling the world and visiting Ireland and England, where Albert had lived before coming to Australia and working as a plasterer and taxi driver.
But as he aged, Albert started drinking more and the grog brought out his mean streak.
He was constantly at war with neighbours and verbally abusive to me and my family.
At a gathering to celebrate his birthday, he went off at my son and my son-in-law simply because they were drinking his beer.
"You f*g c*s, why didn't you bring your own beers?!" he ranted.
Eventually, I had enough."I feel like I'm living in a jail," I told Albert. "I want to separate."
I moved into the bungalow in the garden of our home.
He needed my care and part of me still loved him.
Albert was only 5ft 5, but weighed more than 100kg.
His belly was so big he couldn't see his colostomy bag properly to take care of it.
I did whatever was needed and saw him every day.
Albert made me laugh.
Albert, 76, didn't cope well with us being apart.
"Maybe you should see a counsellor," I suggested 10 months after the split.
We were sitting on the veranda having a cuppa.
"If I do, will you come back to me?" Albert pleaded.
I sighed. "I don't know. I love you, and always will. But I need to take care of myself."
Later that night, he came to the bungalow for help with his bag.
He lay on my bed, and I leaned over and put the seals between his belly and the bag which stopped it leaking.
Finishing up, I went to close the back door of the bungalow.
Albert was in the kitchen as I walked back through to the bedroom.
"I've got something for you," he said in a strange low voice.
We were happy to be together.
He pointed an eight-inch-long kitchen knife at me.
"What are you doing?" I said. "Have you taken something?"
Holding the knife out in front of him, Albert walked towards me as I backed into the doorway between the bedroom and kitchen.
"I've taken enough of you," he said.
I wondered what he was talking about.
Instinctively, I raised my arms to protect myself and turned to one side.
Albert stabbed at my side, back and hands.
In shock, I fell to the floor on my elbows and knees.
Albert straddled me and kept stabbing and slashing, aiming at my head and face.
Then I felt the knife slide under my neck and Albert sawed back and forth.
I screamed in horror.
Albert clamped his hand over my mouth.
The chilling picture on our wedding day.
"Shhhh," he warned.
I bit his finger and grabbed the knife blade and felt it cut my fingers to the bone.
Albert's fists and knees slammed into my head, spine and kidneys.
"You were going to leave me, but I love you," he yelled.
At some point his forearm was in front of my face.
So I sunk my teeth in, desperate to get away.
"It's alright, you're going to die tonight, I'm going to die tonight, we are both going to die tonight," he rasped.
"You may be, but I'm not," I snapped, summoning up the last of my strength.
As we struggled, Albert fell to the side.
← Slide →
I grabbed the knife, scrambled to my feet and stepped over him.
As I did, I thrust the knife into his leg, hoping to stop him following me.
Smeered with blood, I fled screaming to a neighbour.
By the time police arrived, Albert was gone.
He'd taken my car.
An ambulance arrived and next thing I knew I was waking up in hospital, shocked to be alive.
I'd been stabbed 13 times, three times in the chest.
Not one blow had hit a major organ.
Police told me Albert had driven my car in front of a train at a level crossing in a bid to kill himself.
Even though the train crashed into the car, Albert escaped with minor injuries.
When the case came to court he admitted attempted murder and reckless conduct endangering others.
The evidence of what happened after Albert tried to kill me was bizarre.
My car dash cam had recorded him talking to himself and ranting about how much he loved me and that he wished I was dead.
Sitting at the level crossing, he said to himself: "Man oh man, I used the wrong knife," and "I need a train … a f*g choo-choo train, I can't live without that woman. I tried to stick in the throat and the c**t wouldn't die."
I want to help others to see the warning signs so they don't suffer too.
He got nine years with a non-parole of six years.
Looking back now, I see Albert wooed me when I was vulnerable.
Then he manipulated and controlled me with his anger and moods.
Now I want to warn other women.
When you leave a controlling man, you have to prepare carefully.
For Albert, killing me was preferable to losing his control over me.
Looking at our wedding cake photo now I shudder.
I don't see a happy couple and the groom having a joke, pretending to thrust the knife into his new wife.
All I see a man who is pure evil.

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