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A six-year-old girl unknowingly saved her mum's life by telling her teachers 'my daddy is hurting my mummy'.
Domestic abuse survivor, Jodie Keegans, 36, has revealed how she suffered three years of possessive behaviour and extreme violence at the hands of her husband Scott Keegans.
She believes the abuse would've gone on for longer and had fatal consequences had her daughter not stepped in and told her teacher back in October 2017.
After watching her mum endure what was later described in court as one of the most 'satanic' cases a judge had seen, the girl told staff: "My daddy's naughty. Daddy's hurting mummy by the birdy wallpaper. She says that she loves him but he carries on hurting her."
It was these comments that started off the investigation that has ended with Scott Keegans being jailed for 18 years last month.
According to Jodie, the couple married in 2009 and everything started out well. She said: "It started off really good, he was a great partner and father in the beginning but about three years ago, his possessive behaviour started to escalate.
"He didn't want me to engage with anyone and would always question the kids, asking 'who did mummy speak to today?'
"He used to tell me I was lazy and tell the kids 'mummy is useless.'"
This escalated further to the point where Jodie wasn't allowed to work, have a mobile phone or see her friends and family. The mum-of-three even had to miss her own sister's funeral after she died unexpectedly in 2015.
Jodie suffered extreme violence at the hands of her partner. One time she even tried to stick her ripped ear together with eyelash glue after he almost tore it off and refused to let her go to hospital.
Keegans would regularly bite her, punch and stamp on her, leaving her with bone fractures and severe bruises.
In December 2017, Jodie suffered a final beating that left her fearing for her life. She said: "He swung his right arm back and beat me with it.
"He punched me, bit me and stamped on me. He ripped my hair as he told me he hated me. I honestly thought I was going to die, I was so scared and it hurt so much.
"His whole face changed, it was like he was the Joker from Batman. He beat me so badly, even on the soles of my feet, so I couldn't walk.
"It only stopped when he was tired and he told me to go to bed.
"At 9am the next morning, he told me to get up and go into the kitchen where he started to beat me again."
Just days later the police, having intervened since the daughter spoke out, visited the house after the family had missed a social services appointment.
"As soon as I saw them I knew this might be my only chance," said Jodie.
"I did something I'd never done before, showing the two police officers my injuries and simply said, 'I think I'm a victim of domestic abuse'.
"The female officer said, 'Yes, you are. I've never seen anything like this'.
"I guess that was the first time I had actually admitted what was happening."
By this point Keegans had fled the property, but was arrested later that same day. Fast forward to September 5 and Keegans was found guilty by a jury at Sheffield Crown Court of six counts of assault, sexual assault by penetration and rape.
"It was definitely a nerve-racking experience facing him in court but it was the closure I needed to move on with my life.
"For him to get such a lengthy sentence was the best possible result," said Jodie, who merits her daughter for raising the flag in the first place.
"My daughter is my superhero for being brave enough to tell her school was was happening, which is when support services first became involved.
"She really did save my life.
Jodie is now dedicating her life to helping others who have suffered from domestic abuse, stating: "I want to empower women, and men, to come forward. To anyone who has been a victim of domestic abuse, the help is there and it's amazing, you just need to take that first step and reach out.
"You just don't talk about it, you keep it silent, you keep it a secret, but there needs to be a spotlight shone on it to increase awareness."
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