Brave Leeds mum shares terrifying experience of domestic abuse after ex-partner jailed for suffocating her
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Lindsey Ramsdale thought she was facing her final moments when husband Luke Muscroft held a pillow against her face earlier this year.
The violent criminal also covered the victim's mouth with his hands during the brutal attack on June 29 in an attempt to stop her from breathing.
He was arrested on the same day and later pleading guilty to assault by beating, intentional suffocation, intentional strangulation and making threats to kill. Muscroft, of St James Walk, was sentenced to 16 months behind bars at the start of November.
The frightening experience left Lindsey shell-shocked, but she told the Yorkshire Evening Post that sharing her story has made her stronger.
"We suffered for years," the 31-year-old said. "Now, I want other women to know that there is help out there."
Lindsey met her ex-partner nine years ago when they were both students at Bramley’s Intake High School. The pair started messaging on Facebook and met up several times.
"He started out as this really charming, loving person,” said Lindsey. “But then the red flags started to show."
Not long after they had met, she became pregnant with the first of her three children with Muscroft. This, she said, was when his mood swings began.
The mum-of-four added: "We were living in fear and walking on eggshells. You didn't know what he was going to do next or what mood he would be in.
"One minute he could be okay and the next he could be a completely different person. Although he did have some love inside him, it didn't last very long. He was mainly in really bad moods."
The incident that led to Muscroft's arrest came after Lindsey found images of women on his phone, which she challenged him over.
He grabbed a pillow and pushed her onto the sofa, holding it against her face as her one-year-old child was present. Hearing the commotion, another child rushed downstairs and found her mum in shock.
Muscroft later put his hands over her mouth to stop her from breathing and she lost consciousness.
"I honestly thought that was how it was going to end that day," Lindsey added. "I remember pleading with him to get off me. After the argument started, I remember saying I'm sorry. I'm really sorry. I promise I'll shut up. But he didn't listen. It was just terrifying."
One of Lindsey's brave children phoned the police, but Muscroft snatched the phone and started punching it. Thankfully, the operator heard the commotion and officers were sent to investigate.
The attack left Lindsey with red marks to her neck, headaches and chest pain, while her children suffered psychological scarring.
"It has traumatised them,” she said. "We've had to move from refuge to refuge. They have no permanence or stability. My four-year-old jumps out of bed with night terrors. It's the same for my one-year-old, she often wakes up and hides under the bed."
According to national charity Refuge, one in four women will be affected by domestic abuse in their lifetime.
The charity also said that domestic abuse-related crimes are on the up in England and Wales, with an increase of almost 8% on last year. There has been a similar increase in previous years.
Earlier this month, Muscroft appeared at Leeds Crown Court via video link. He had his head in his hands and was crying during the hearing.
It’s clear that his behaviour has had a profound effect on both Lindsey and her children, but the inspiring mum said she's determined to share her story in an effort to help other women in her position.
"I was constantly frightened that if I ever left him, he'd make sure that I lost the kids, or he would kill me, or he would kill himself,” she said.
"I want people to know that they don't have to live like that. We went through a scary, horrible situation. Now, I want to help others. There is help out there if they break the silence."