Tragedy as woman who clawed out of shallow grave by fingernails after evil fiancé buried her alive dies from pneumonia | The Sun

A WOMAN who was buried alive and forced to crawl out of the grave by her fingernails died from pneumonia, an inquest heard today.

Stacey Gwilliam, then 34, was attacked by Keith Hughes as they walked along a coast path in South Wales.


The decorator throttled her and tried to hide her body under branches and leaves.

But 5ft 2ins Stacey managed to survive by crawling her way out and calling the cops.

Hughes, who was arrested after crashing Stacey's car, told cops: "You'll never find her."

But an inquest heard Stacey spent three months in hospital following the attack in July 2015 – and had to relearn how to walk and talk.

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PC Tom Evans, of South Wales Police, said the former Virgin Atlantic worker suffered repeated bouts of pneumonia in the years that followed – and died at the age of just 40.

He said: "She suffered with severe depression and anxiety and also suffered from pneumonia due to being buried alive."

The inquest heard Stacey, of Townhill, Swansea, first met Hughes in 2011 before he became abusive towards her.

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PC Evans said family noticed she had "marks and bruises" on her body during the relationship while fearing for her safety.

Hughes was jailed for life with a minimum of eight years by Judge Paul Thomas at Swansea Crown Court.

And in a dramatic victim statement to the court, Stacey told how she nearly died and spent nearly three weeks in a coma after saying she wanted to end their relationship.

She said: "The simple truth is what he told me that day: 'If I can't have you no-one can'.

"He knew the relationship was over and knew I would not go back to him. He took me down there that day to kill me, and he nearly succeeded.

"I will never ever forget what he did to me that day and what he did to me throughout our relationship and now I have to live with that for the rest of my life."

He took me down there that day to kill me, and he nearly succeeded.

The inquest heard Stacey died at home in November last year after suffering from a chest infection.

She called her GP the day before her death and was told to take antibiotics.

But she was tragically found dead in bed the following day after self-medicating in attempt to treat her infection.

The inquest heard Stacey had started to order medication online – and toxicology reports found a number of sedative drugs in her system which were mostly prescribed.

A post mortem by Dr John Williams found the cause of death to be bronchopneumonia with combined drug toxicity.

Acting Senior Coroner Colin Phillips recorded a conclusion of accidental death.

He said: "I have heard she suffered a number of health issues in her short life and was subjected to a number of abusive relationships.

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"There is no evidence that she intended to end her life on this occasion."

He added: "Stacey died as a result of self medicating when she was suffering from a chest infection."


How you can get help

Women’s Aid has this advice for victims and their families:

  • Always keep your phone nearby.
  • Get in touch with charities for help, including the Women’s Aid live chat helpline and services such as SupportLine.
  • If you are in danger, call 999.
  • Familiarise yourself with the Silent Solution, reporting abuse without speaking down the phone, instead dialing “55”.
  • Always keep some money on you, including change for a pay phone or bus fare.
  • If you suspect your partner is about to attack you, try to go to a lower-risk area of the house – for example, where there is a way out and access to a telephone.
  • Avoid the kitchen and garage, where there are likely to be knives or other weapons. Avoid rooms where you might become trapped, such as the bathroom, or where you might be shut into a cupboard or other small space.

If you are a ­victim of domestic abuse, SupportLine is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm to 8pm on 01708 765200. The charity’s email support ­service is open weekdays and weekends during the crisis – [email protected]

Women’s Aid provides a live chat service – available weekdays from 8am-6pm and weekends 10am-6pm.

You can also call the freephone 24-hour ­National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.

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