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Real Life

Real life: My wife hired a hitman to kill me — and then he saved my life

How could someone I loved so dearly do this?

By Laura Masia

Malcolm Stewart, 64, from Nerang, Queensland, shares his shocking true life story;

The spanner clanged on the cement as I dropped it and wiped the sweat from my brow.Being a mechanic was hard yakka, but I loved it.
Just then, the office phone rang.
"Malcolm's Automotive Service Centre," I answered.
"Anthony Werner is gonna kill you," a menacing voice growled. "Get out of where you are because you're gonna die."
A chill ran through me as my eyes darted around the garage.
Anthony Werner was my ex-wife Theresa's boyfriend. Could this anonymous warning be true?
I'd first met Theresa when I was 28 years old. She was drop-dead gorgeous waiting at the mechanics in her flight attendant uniform.
She flashed me a stunning smile as I got chatting to her and I was stoked when she asked for my number.
We went out for dinner a month later and soon became a couple.
Eventually we bought a patch of land in Queensland to be closer to her parents.
Theresa had a special bond with her father Dennis and wanted to be near him.
A few years later, we married and had a baby girl.
Our wedding day.
We were blissfully happy until Dennis passed away from cancer.
"I don't know what to do without him," Theresa sobbed on my shoulder.
She struggled to move on after that and slowly, her demeanour changed.
She was always so put together in public, but behind closed doors she was unravelling.
It's the grief talking, I'd tell myself, trying to look past it for the woman I adored.
But Theresa's erratic behaviour got worse. She'd scream for no reason and although I'd urge her to calm down, she rarely did, except when the phone rang or we had a visitor.
Then she'd go back to being the put-together, articulate woman everyone knew.
It was like I was married to two different people and I was scared.
A few days later, I hid a camera on a shelf in the living room to capture what life with Theresa was really like, in case things escalated.
Sitting at the dining table, dressed in pajamas, Theresa was ordering me participate in strange activities.
"We're gonna cut out shapes," she screamed frantically, throwing paper and cardboard on the kitchen floor. "We're going to sit here for hours cutting shapes."
In the beginning we were so happy.
To distance myself from her, I told her I was going to make the bed.
"No Malcolm, you can't," she shrieked. "You have to sit there for three hours and not move, except to go to the bathroom."
I couldn't understand where this horrific behaviour coming from?
Once she slammed the oven door so many times it shattered, another time, she ran a knife around the paintwork of my new car because I didn't fold the washing the second she demanded me to.
I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to break the family up so I enrolled us in couples therapy.
The night before our session, I was laying in bed with just the bathroom light on nearby when Theresa appeared at the doorway.
"I'm going to turn that light off, come in and cut your throat," she growled.
Petrified, I called the police but couldn't bring myself to press charges.
I hoped the counselling would end this nightmare and we could go back to being happy.
But during the session, Theresa wouldn't stop screaming at me. I couldn't get a word in.
Afterwards, the therapist pulled me aside.
"This isn't going to work," she said. "You need to get out."
I knew she was right.
Soon, we had a little girl.
When I told our daughter, now 17, she wasn't surprised.
"I'm so sorry to tell you this, Dad," she said nervously, "Mum's been having an affair with a man named Tony Werner for 12 months."
She'd known about it for a while but Theresa had ordered her to keep quiet.
Despite everything, I was devastated by my wife's betrayal. Our 24-year marriage was over.
I moved out and Theresa convinced our daughter to live with her. It broke my heart, but what could I do?
To protect my assets, I went to the bank and took Theresa's name off my business accounts.
Lucky I did, because two hours later, she tried to withdraw two cheques for $12,000.
When it was denied, she burst into a rage and stormed into my work, her dark eyes glaring into mine.
"I'm going to mentally destroy you, I'm going to financially destroy you and then I'm going to have you killed," she hissed and then left.
I was shocked, but I didn't truly believe it until I received that menacing phone call from a stranger about someone coming after me.
It shook me to the core. I told police about Theresa's threats and the phone call.
They didn't have enough proof to arrest her but offered to put me into protection.
Theresa changed, becoming erratic and frightening.
"You'll have to change your name and give up your business, but you'll be safe," the officer said.
How could I sacrifice my whole life, everything I'd worked hard for?
"If I do that, she's won," I said sternly.
Instead, I got a bullet proof vest and wore it under my clothes each day, only ever taking it off to shower.
Then, I noticed the same cars following me or parking outside my work.
The endless paranoia and fear took a huge toll on my health. I had a heart attack, lost my vision for a month and then, my kidneys began to fail.
Fourteen months later, a police officer called.
"We're charging Theresa for attempting to solicit your murder," he said.
He explained that the man who'd called me was Matthew Neels.
Theresa had asked her boyfriend, Anthony to find a hitman to kill me so she could obtain my assets.
He paid Matthew $20,000 upfront to do the job, but Matthew wasn't a hitman, he was a thief and took off with the money, making the phone call to warn me one the way. It probably saved my life.
Police found out about the hit on me when Matthew was the victim of an attempted shooting and he came clean. I was dumbfounded.
I'd been living in fear for so long that it almost felt good to hear that I wasn't crazy.
Theresa really did want me dead.
In March 2019, I watched as Theresa Dalton was convicted in the Brisbane Supreme Court of attempting to commission my murder.
She denied it all, but the judge called her bluff and sentenced her to seven and a half years in prison.
My greatest wish now is that my girl might reconnect with me. I haven't spoken to her in over ten years and it breaks my heart.
Although Theresa is in jail, she's managed to achieve many of her sinister goals.
I've been ruined financially with legal fees, my health has suffered and I'll never be the same after what that evil woman put me through.

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