The family of a woman who was brutally murdered at her Swansea home have spoken of their heartbreak and said they don’t want any other families to have to endure the horror they are currently living through.
On December 1 last year, 48-year-old Helen Bannister was killed by her partner Jonathan James Frazer Campbell, who she lived with in the Mayhill area of the city.
Campbell, who has since been jailed and warned he may never be released, inflicted “significant injuries” on Miss Bannister but, rather than immediately call for help, he put her in the bath to wash blood away and then left her on a sofa while he went out drinking with a friend.
Campbell eventually called 999 and Miss Bannister was airlifted to hospital, where she died six days later due to the severity of her injuries. While she lay dying in the house on the night of the attack, Campbell had actually been to a local shop to buy wine before booking into a Swansea hotel.
Appearing on ITV’s Wales at Six on Tuesday night, Miss Bannister’s daughters spoke emotionally about their mother, who sustained blunt force injuries which included two broken bones in her neck, broken ribs, a broken arm, nose and jaw, and a fractured jaw, cheek and eye socket.
“I fell to the floor,” explained daughter Stacey Harris when describing what it was like going to see her mother in hospital the day after the attack.
“They pre-warned me and told me that she was really swollen. They said ‘you’re not going to recognise her, she’s got really bad injuries’. It was all a blur. Then I remember the nurse walking with me hand in hand, and as soon as I saw her I just remember falling to pieces because I didn’t even recognise my own mother.”
Miss Bannister had previously been the victim of domestic abuse at the hands of Campbell, and daughter Sarah Davies said she told her mother previously: “I think you need to wake up and realise and just leave him, and she was just saying ‘I know, I know’.”
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Stacey had also spoken to her mother about her concerns, telling her: “The next time we get a phone call you’re going to be in a body bag. She knew what was going to happen but she felt like she couldn’t get away from it.”
Miss Bannister’s family said they decided to speak publicly about the ongoing nightmare they are living through because they want to help other people who might be suffering from domestic abuse.
“I don’t want her name to be in vain,” said Stacey. “I want to raise as much awareness as I can. We want to help other people because we don’t want other people to go through what we are going through because it’s horrific.”
Campbell, of Waun Wen Road in Mayhill, Swansea, pleaded guilty to Miss Bannister’s murder and was sentenced at Swansea Crown Court last week.
He had said that he headbutted Miss Bannister twice during the attack and then tried to bring her around by removing her clothes and putting her in the bath – when that didn’t work he said he put her on the sofa, left a note apologising to her, and packed his bags. But the court heard that his account was not consistent with the nature of Miss Bannister’s injuries.
Sentencing Campbell to a minimum term of 18 years in prison, Judge Paul Thomas QC called the attack a “drunken, ferocious, sustained, and merciless assault”. He added that Campbell would be well into his 50s before he could apply for parole and even then he would only be released if the Parole Board consider it is safe to do so.
There is help and support for victims of abuse.
Support is available in Welsh and English and a lot of the time is there 24 hours a day.
In an emergency, call 999 but there are a number of support agencies there to help:
Live Fear Free helpline – 24 hour support
Confidential support and information for anyone experiencing sexual violence, domestic abuse or violence against women in Wales, and for family, friends, colleagues and others calling on their behalf. Phone support available in Welsh, English and any other languages.
Freephone T: 0808 8010800
Type Talk: 1800108088010800
Text support 24/7: 078600 77 333
Live chat 24hrs: www.livefearfree.gov.wales
Bawso 24hr helpline
Providing specialist services for BME communities.
T: 0800 731 8147 W: bawso.org.uk
Suzy Lamplugh Trust National Stalking Helpline
Advice and help if you are a victim of stalking.
Freephone T: 0808 802 0300
The charity runs a 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline
Freephone T: 0808 2000 247
NSPCC FGM helpline
Call the FGM helpline if you’re worried a child is at risk of, or has had, FGM.
T: 0800 028 3550 E: email@example.com
Forced Marriage Unit helpline
Advice and support to victims of forced marriage.
T: 020 7008 0151
Modern slavery helpline
To report a suspicion, get help or seek advice or information.
T: 0800 0121 700 W: modernslaveryhelpline.org
For anyone concerned about their violence and/or abuse towards a partner or ex-partner
T: 0808 802 4040 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: respectphoneline.org.uk