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A woman who was left with life-changing injuries says she "can't believe she's still here today" after she was attacked during a domestic assault by a man who was yesterday jailed for 30 years.
Wayne Ahearne, 55, of Scot Lane, Wigan, struck his 45-year-old ex-partner with an axe during an attack in March earlier this year - leaving her with a collapsed lung, six broken ribs, a huge cut across her head, a fractured spine and multiple facial fractures following the assault on Scot Lane.
A concerned friend went to the address at around lunchtime on 13 March and found the victim lay on the sofa before calling colleagues from NWAS who then informed police.
She was taken to hospital where she received extensive treatment and surgery for six hours but has been seeking a range of different treatments since the attack but urges anyone suffering behind closed doors to "report it".
Ahearne was yesterday (23 December 2021) jailed at Minshull Street Crown Court after being found guilty of attempt murder and sentenced to 30 years in jail and three years on licence.
The victim, from Wigan, said: "I've been left vulnerable, anxious and I can't go anywhere on my own. He was a monster. I can't remember the attack - I woke up in hospital and my family were absolutely devastated about what had happened.
"Before the attack, I'd met him through a friend and started seeing him in December. It started by him smashing a window in my home and I thought it wasn't right. Then I later found out he'd taken my bank card without telling me and even strangled me the week before but I didn't report it. I thought he was going to kill me and I was absolutely petrified of him and any repercussions or retaliation.
"If it wasn't for the police and all the work they've done - I wouldn't be here today. The hospital said if I hadn't got medical attention when I did, it could have been a lot worse. I wouldn't wish what happened to me on anyone."
"Going out with family has helped me - especially going shopping as I love going shopping. However, I do keep having flashbacks where I think I'm seeing him or he's walking past me but the support services I've used have taught me how to ground myself and they're beginning to go."
Officers attended the scene after receiving the call and immediately launched an investigation - arresting, charging and remanding Ahearne within 48 hours. Throughout the trial, the victim was supported and even gave evidence over a video link rather than having to face Ahearne in court.
The 45-year-old, who hasn't been able to go back home since the incident, added: "I've had so much support from the police, the NHS, my family, witness care and an independent violent worker who have all gone above and beyond. If it wasn't for DC Sarah Lloyd and DS Claire Hughes and the work they've done for me, I probably wouldn't have come forward.
"I'd say to anyone going through anything similar, don't hide behind closed doors. It's ok saying - he only hit me - but it could progress into much worse than that. That's often just the start.
"I was so vulnerable at the time and I was so angry after I realised what'd happened but there are so many services out there that can help and it's nothing to be ashamed of.
"Yesterday's sentencing has meant a monster like him has got what he deserves."
Detective Constable Sarah Lloyd, from Wigan CID, led the investigation and described the victim's injuries as some of the "worst she's ever seen".
DC Lloyd said: "The victim's bravery in this case after everything she's been through has been absolutely commendable and I am so pleased we've helped her get justice.
"I could see - and still can - what the incident has done to both the victim and her family and I wanted to get the best result possible. I've worked on many domestic abuse cases but the injuries in this case were some of the worst I'd ever seen.
"Ahearne's actions can only be described as monstrous and this assault was the work of a dreadful man. This case highlights the extent of violence that can occur behind closed doors and thankfully we've removed another dangerous individual from our streets and potentially stop any further harm being inflicted on women.
"When I first started this investigation, the victim was an extremely vulnerable woman with absolutely no confidence but now I can see how strong she is and her confidence is slowly starting to come back.
"GMP is committed to keeping women safe I hope today's sentencing sends a message and a stark warning that GMP will not tolerate domestic abuse in any form and we will do all in our power to bring offenders to justice. I would urge anyone suffering behind closed doors to report it or access services available to get the support they may need."
If you're a victim of domestic abuse, or are concerned about someone you know, please use our online reporting facility or use our LiveChat facility on our website, or call 101. In an emergency that's on-going or life is in danger, always dial 999.
Some victims may not feel comfortable speaking with the police, or may feel they need support to come forward and make a report. Greater Manchester Victims’ Services can provide independent emotional and practical support for anyone affected by crime. You can contact the service by visiting the website on https://www.gmvictims.org.uk/ or calling 0161 200 1950.