WHEN police were called to the Leeds home Alex Skeel shared with his girlfriend Jordan Worth, they found him so badly abused that he was days away from death.
He had been starved, stabbed with a bread knife, blackened by hammer-inflicted bruising, burnt with a kettle full of boiling water – all at the hands of his girlfriend.
Alex, 22, tells his shocking story in full for the first time as part of a new BBC documentary Abused By My Girlfriend.
In it he reveals how on one occasion his girlfriend beat him so badly with a hairbrush that he was forced to rip out his own tooth because she wouldn’t let him seek help.
Another time, controlling Jordan forced him to overdose on sleeping pills during a trip to Winter Wonderland.
Alex is one of a growing number of men speaking out about domestic violence behind closed doors.
In 2017 there were 149,248 incidents reported in England and Wales – double the number in 2012.
Here, he relives the horror.
‘She told me what to wear and destroyed my sim card’
Alex, a football coach, was 16 when he met Jordan – his first girlfriend – through friends in June 2012.
He was soon smitten but it wasn’t long before her bizarre and controlling behaviour crept in.
“She used to say things like ‘I don’t really like the colour grey, I don’t think you should wear the colour grey’,” he says in the new BBC documentary.
“‘Oh I don’t like your hair like that, you should have your hair like this’.
“But I never took it as a negative. It was more like I won’t wear it again – it won’t impress her.”
Romantic bliss turned into constant arguments, during which time Jordan snapped Alex’s SIM card in half and ruined his 18th birthday by picking a huge fight with the “beautiful” daughter of a family friend.
His friends warned him, “she’s not good”.
They broke up, but then she dropped the bombshell she was pregnant, and gave birth to their son in May 2014.
Despite not having had contact for a year, Alex was encouraged by family to meet the baby.
By January 2015, Jordan – who appeared to have changed with motherhood – had crept back into his life.
Lied that his granddad was dead
Jordan’s true colours emerged once more when they moved in together in a village in Surrey in June 2015.
She cut off contact between Alex and his family and friends by controlling his phone and social media accounts, sending them messages that he hated them and not to contact him again.
The mind games worsened. Jordan told Alex his beloved granddad was dead. He spent two hours sobbing before she said that she had lied.
On one occasion, during a trip to Winter Wonderland, Jordan forced Alex to consume an entire pack of sleeping pills – and he has no idea how he got home.
She also took away his wallet, wouldn’t allow him to work, forced him to come to lectures with her at the University of Hertfordshire.
She even tried to change his name by deed poll and made him sleep on the floor of their bedroom for nine months.
He wasn’t allowed to eat, unless his girlfriend permitted it, existing only on scraps and losing three stone.
“My body started to shut down,” he remembers.
‘I was backed into a corner and she poured a kettle of boiling water over me’
After four years of mental abuse, the relationship turned violent – she whacked his shins and head with a hammer, struck his legs and hands with knives and poured boiling water on his arms and back as he slept.
She would find any weapon to hand, including a glass bottle, bits of wardrobe, a football pole snapped in half and even a hairbrush.
“We went out and everything seemed OK,” he explains of a routine car journey when one attack took place.
“And she said ‘right that’s it’ and picked up her hairbrush and went full on whack. My tooth was near enough off. I had no money, I didn’t drive, so in the end I just ripped the tooth out.”
He hoped that the arrival of baby daughter Iris in May 2017 would make the violence go away.
But a month later she poured a kettle full of boiling water on him.
“I was backed into the corner upstairs, she lifted the lid up and threw it,” he recalls. “I screamed. Full on screamed.”
Alex needed hospital treatment that night, but Jordan wouldn’t let him remain in for a much-needed operation.
And a couple of days later she attacked him again.
“She had the bread knife on her and I tried to run off,”Alex says.
Pointing to the horrific scars on his hand and wrist he explains, “This hand was then cut across. It was middle of the night – 2am – and I tried to stop her get in the bathroom. She went to go at my head.”
Their neighbours – who had also seen him with black eyes, walking with a limp and his arm in a sling – dialled 999, after hearing a man yelling: “I’m sorry, not my fault, get off me, leave me alone.”
Police found a bloody scene, with Alex’s wounds wrapped in a football sock.
Terrified of what Jordan might do he blamed himself for the injuries.
He recalls: “I kept saying I did it to myself, it was me. I was scared what she was going to do.”
They took him to hospital
‘She starved me to just ten days away from death’
After he was discharged from hospital, concerned police paid him a visit.
In daylight, the officer was able to see how bruised Alex really was. The officer persuaded him to speak to him in the police car, away from controlling Jordan.
After a lot of reassurance, Alex revealed what had really been happening.
The police took him to a safe place and bought him a McDonald’s – the first proper meal he’d eaten in months.
When doctors checked him over, they said he only had 10 days to live, and that he was suffering from hydrocephalus – a build-up of fluid inside the skull – caused by the blunt objects hit at his head.
His girlfriend was immediately arrested on suspicion of assault, and she was subsequently charged and sentenced to seven years in jail.
“The day that she went to prison I felt so free,” says Alex, who was reunited with his family and friends the day after her arrest, and who now has custody of their children.
He says: “People always ask me, why didn’t you walk away – but it’s so complicated. As each day goes by I’m understanding it more.”
Abused By My Girlfriend is available on BBC Three via iPlayer from 10am on Monday.