A devastated mother has revealed her daughter was driven to suicide by her controlling partner after just five months together.
Pam Taylor, 54, from Hertfordshire, told how her fun-loving daughter Kellie Sutton, 29, a mother-of-three, was pushed to kill herself by gas-lighting and mentally abusive Steve Gane, who made her feel ‘worthless’ and put her down constantly.
Her mother has now spoken of her heartache and the horror of finding out that what looked like a happy relationship from the outside, was in fact dark and full of abuse.
Pam spoke to Femail after recently finding out that Gane is due for early release next year, after being jailed for controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate relationship, assault by beating and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
‘Gane shouldn’t be released in February 2020, having served less than two years of his four year sentence. He should be behind bars for the whole four years,’ she said.
‘I’ve been given a whole life sentence without my daughter and so has the rest of her family. Why did the judge give out four years if Gane’s going to be out in two?
‘We need to save other women from evil men like Gane and the longer he’s off the streets, the better.’
Kellie Sutton, 29, went from happy and fun-loving to isolated and anxious in the space of five months and eventually took her own life
Pam Taylor, 54, from Hertforshire, was shocked to find out her daughter, whom she thought was in a happy relationship, had been driven to suicide by her abusive boyfriend
Abusive Paul Gane was charged in Kellie’s death and was sent to jail for four years and three months following his trial in March
The court heard that Steven (left) made Kellie (right) feel worthless and unloved and would physically abuse her
In March 2017, Kellie asked her mother to babysit so she could head to her local pub – and there, she met Steve Gane, 30.
While Pam thought it seemed a bit quick when he moved in just two weeks later, Kellie reassured her she was happy.
‘As we got to know Kellie’s new fella, we all liked him,’ explained Pam. ‘Kellie’s brother even helped Steve get a job as a delivery driver. Whenever I stopped by, Steve was busy pottering, or mowing the lawn.’
By the time summer arrived, Kellie ditched her usual heavy make-up, crop tops and tight jeans and seemed happier in her own skin.
‘During the day, she’d hop in the van with Steve as he made his deliveries, they were inseparable,’ explained Pam.
But one afternoon, Kellie had popped around her mother’s house when her phone rang for a second time.
‘When she saw Steve’s name on the screen she groaned,’ said Pam. ‘So I shouted out “hi Steve and told him she was with me.’
Pam said she thought her daughter (pictured) was in a healthy and relationship, but found out she was wrong in the worst possible way
Pam quizzed her daughter to find out the status of her relationship, and Kellie revealed that Steve was becoming increasingly jealous.
Then in August 2017, she was waiting for Kellie to text what time she should drop by, but when her phone beeped, it was her friend.
As more messages poured in, Pam spotted a picture of an ambulance outside her house on Facebook.
‘I tried calling Kellie, then Steve but couldn’t get through,’ she explained. ‘Then, an unknown number called. The man from the hospital wouldn’t tell me anymore over the phone and told me to get there as fast as I could.’
After getting a lift from a friend, Pam worried that Kellie had fallen or broken her leg – but was sure Steve would’ve called if it was something serious.
Kellie (pictured) could not be revived following her suicide attempt and was put on life support, which was withdrawn after three days
Pam urged the police to investigate as Kellie was still in hospital. Pam later had to consent to getting life support withdrawn
‘I was escorted to the Intensive Care Unit waiting room, where Steve was pacing, and two police officers were standing by,’ she said. ‘Then Steve blurted out, ‘They’re going to blame me. She went and hanged herself.”
The police showed Steve out as a doctor arrived. They explained that Kellie had been found at home, and paramedics had spent 45 minutes reviving her.
Now, she was in a coma, on life support. Devastated and numb, Pam was taken to Kellie’s room.
‘I took her hand in mine, pictured the last time she’d been awake and began to cry,’ she explained.
‘What had been going through her mind? How on earth had this happened? Kellie had always been full of life, an amazing mum.’
Pam began making calls and soon, the waiting room was packed with friends and family.
‘Nobody could believe Kellie would try to kill herself,’ she explained. ‘As we talked, one thing was clear – Kellie wouldn’t do this.’
She continued: ‘I heard from Steve’s friends that while Kellie lay in a coma, he was in the pub, joking with his mates about where he’d live now. Those weren’t the words of a caring, grieving boyfriend.’
Kelly met Gane on a night out at the pub and seemed happy about her new relationship, although she once complained he was ‘getting jealous’
Pam said she did think Kellie and Gane rushed into moving in together – after only two weeks of dating – but thought her daughter was hapy and in love
Pam urged the police to investigate and on the third day, tests showed Kellie had suffered permanent brain damage.
‘For Kellie, there was no hope,’ said Pam. ‘We said our goodbyes, then the machines were switched off.’
‘Kellie’s chest instantly fell still, the colour draining from her skin within seconds. I began to howl as I realised my beautiful, bubbly daughter was gone.’
For four months Pam and her family weren’t allowed to bury Kellie as post-mortems and police investigations rumbled on.
Steven was arrested, charged and bailed. In December 2017, they finally laid Kellie to rest at the same church Pam had married in decades earlier.
‘Hundreds came and we held candles as the vicar read poems we couldn’t find the strength to,’ she said.
‘It seemed so unfair that Steve was at home with his family that Christmas, while ours had been blown apart. My grief turned to anger as I waited for Steve’s trial.’
In March 2018, Steven Gane, 31, appeared at St Albans Crown Court, where he denied controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate relationship, assault by beating and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
A collage made of different picture of Kellie and her friends which was shown at her funeral (pictured)
‘All the time I’d believed Kellie was in a happy, healthy relationship, Gane had been abusing her, even splitting her head open and choking her,’ explained Pam.
The court heard Kellie had gone from positive and outgoing to isolated and anxious.
When she’d told Gane about her plans to end her life, he’d told her: ‘Do everyone a favour and go ahead and do it.’
When she didn’t reply, he’d rushed to the house where he’d found her. Then he’d deleted incriminating messages from his phone and hers.
Finding Gane guilty, Judge Grey told him: ‘You inveigled your way into her affections and her house and you then sought to dominate and control her.
‘You treated her as a meal ticket that was yours to control. You beat her and you ground her down and you broke her spirit.’
Gane was jailed for four years and three months, the maximum possible.
The judge went a step further and imposed a Criminal Behaviour Order, lasting 10 years, requiring Gane to inform police of any sexual relationship he has in future lasting more than 14 days, and to notify police within 21 days of the start of the relationship.
On the surface, Gane and Kellie looked like any other couple, but Kellie would live a life of misery
‘The judge did what he could, but I still feel robbed,’ said Pam. ‘I have to tell myself Kellie is on holiday Spain, because the realisation I’ll never see her again is too much to bear.’
She continued: ‘The most grotesque thing is knowing that before too long, Gane will be out, living his life as if nothing ever happened.’
Now, Pam wants other women to know what he’s capable of and recognise coercive behaviour.
‘Kellie went out of her way to help people, and it’s unbearable that when she needed me most, I didn’t know to help,’ she said. ‘But that’s what men like Gane do, bulldoze their victims into silence.’
‘They are not just about the bruises on your body, the physical attacks,’ she explained. ‘It includes your spirit being broken. So I beg of you, if your partner is making you feel like Kellie did in her final months, please ask for help. It may just save your life.’
Kellie as a child. Her death was insurmountable for her mother Pam, who said her life has been ‘torn apart’