ON the outside, their life was picture perfect.
Chris Bywater was a handsome former soldier and entrepreneur, sweeping single mum Jodie off her feet just months after meeting.
But underneath the surface was a violent man who dominated every aspect of his wife’s life – lashing out in violent outbursts that in one attack left the young mum with a broken jaw and bleeding uncontrollably.
This month, the 35-year-old man was jailed for 11 years on two counts of grievous bodily harm with intent.
Speaking exclusively to the Sun Online, Jodie, 36, revealed the years she spent living in terror – and how she summoned the courage to give evidence to see him locked up.
Breaking down in tears, she said: “I’m ashamed I didn’t leave earlier but I was trying to keep us together.
“I always thought he loved us, and that would be enough for him to stop.
“But now I know it’s his character, and nobody can change that.
“I’ll never forgive Chris for what he has done.
“I don’t hate him though, I won’t be bitter.”
The mum said she was battered so badly that twice she thought her husband would kill her as he rained blows down on her cowering on the ground.
Both of the “horrendous” attacks left her seriously injured, including one violent battering that saw her hospitalised with a broken jaw unable to eat for weeks.
Jodie was 29-years-old when she met charming Chris on Facebook, with his account appearing as a suggested friend in 2011.
Despite not having any mutual friends, the pair started messaging.
The pair were soon talking regularly, going on their first date at the New Inn in Baschurch, Shrewsbury a month later.
Recounting their whirlwind romance, Jodie – who has three children, her two youngest with Chris – said: “He was very tall, very handsome and very charming.
“The attraction was there as soon as I met him.
“Because of my nature, I felt drawn to him. I wanted to heal any problems he had in the past, and I wanted him to feel safe, I wanted him to feel secure.”
And while Jodie said she wanted to make sure the relationship was stable – thinking of her young son from her first marriage – she found the couple had moved in and gotten married in July 2012, barely ten months after meeting.
She said: “He made me feel safe, secure, and he was an amazing stepfather.
“He seemed to love us so quickly, and take on the responsibility.”
Chris, who had joined the army around 2004 and even served in the Iraq War before leaving and working at a courier company, seemed the perfect man.
Bu just months into their relationship, Chris had already started to control Jodie.
The couple soon started to share an email account and mobile phone, while Jodie was convinced into deleting her Facebook account.
Chris was also the first one to open all the mail, and the only one with passwords to check their bank account.
Jodie said: “Very quickly, I was cut off from everybody.
“I had no way of anybody contacting me without him checking it first.
“He made it seem like a good thing, because I knew he would never cheat on me. He made it seem like he wanted to share everything with me.”
The physical abuse had also started, with Chris spitting in the mum’s face, stamping on her feet and pinching her
But it was on a night in September 2013 that the violence escalated – Chris attacking Jodie while she was pregnant with their first child together.
The dad had gone out drinking with some friends but was unable to get inside after not taking a key with him, so he banged outside until Jodie woke up.
Jodie said: “I was woken in the early hours and as soon as I opened the door, I smelt alcohol.
“I said: ‘I can’t believe you drank again’ and he came in and grabbed me by the neck.
“He pushed me through the house and I went backwards over the sofa.
“I landed on the floor and he started punching my head, punching my back as I tried to protect my stomach.
“It was just so painful, I can’t even describe it. I thought he was going to kill me.”
After two weeks, Jodie finally went to hospital – telling doctors she had fallen off the toilet seat and that she had “thought it would heal itself”.
She underwent surgery, with the surgeon having to rebreak her finger to properly fix it.
After the attack, the control continued.
Source: THE SUN OF LONDON