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Buried alive and left for dead by the man she loved

I had to use my nails to get out... I had no upper-body strength

Stacey Gwilliams describes how she escaped the make-shift grave

Left for dead by her violent fiancé, Stacey Gwilliams' story of survival is nothing short of a miracle.

Even though bodybuilder Keith Hughes had already spent time in prison for physically abusing Stacey, like many victims of domestic abuse she found it very difficult to move on from her relationship. They were engaged when he was freed from prison, but he attacked her again soon after his release.

"I ended the relationship because I couldn't cope any longer" - Stacey told Piers and Susanna as she spoke of how she finally found the courage to leave Hughes a year ago. However she accidentally found herself in his company following a chance encounter in their local town centre.

The bodybuilder used this opportunity to force Stacey into a walk, after she refused to get into a car with him. Staying in a public place was Stacey's priority, yet help was nowhere to be seen when Hughes strangled her in a fit of rage along the Swansea coast after discovering she had sold her engagement ring. Hughes then buried Stacey in a make-shift grave, where he has since admitted he believed her to be dead. She told us of the horrific experience of waking up covered in first and having to scratch herself free.

Stacey spent over three weeks in hospital and has been learning to walk and talk again over the past twelve months. Keith Hughes was jailed for eight and a half years last December.

Contact Women’s Aid for more information about domestic violence and support

Emergency number: 0808 2000247

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Weekdays | 6am-9am