I dropped Lily off at her music lesson with her dad from 5pm- 6pm.
She really didn’t want to go but I told her she could call or text me to come get her if she wanted.
I wasn’t keen on her having dinner with her dad given his recent behavior, but Mum and I hung around parked close to Claude’s car to make sure she was alright. We intended following them if need be.
At 6:09 she sent a message ‘Can you please come?’
I was close to the music studio, but when I went in, they’d already left. I sent a message where are u?’ She didn’t respond so I had no choice, I called Claude and explained that she’d messaged me.
He was very angry and he said she was fine and they were in the middle of having dinner; he would bring her home at 7pm.
I asked to speak with her and she was very upset – I couldn’t understand much of what she was saying and I could hear him berating her in the background.
He got back on the phone and was still telling me she was fine while I drove up and double parked.
She didn’t look fine – I told him I was outside and I was going to park and come in. They’d clearly not gone in yet and hadn’t started dinner at all. As I moved back into the traffic to look for somewhere to park he sat facing her outside the cafe with his arms gesticulating agitatedly. She was huddled in front of him looking frightened.
When I arrived he was still outside with her insisting she was fine and I said I’d like to speak with Lily herself since something had clearly happened for her to message me to come.
He went inside to order despite Lily’s protests that she wanted to leave. I suspect this was so he could prove I had interrupted a leisurely dinner.
When he was inside she was terribly upset saying he’d ‘gone mad at her’ for messaging me – she whispered urgently ‘let’s go, let’s just go’ ‘he’s watching us let’s go!’ I told her we had to tell him that she wanted to leave.
Inside he became very angry, he insisted she stay, and he suggested I stay while she ate her pizza. I was happy to do that and I asked Lily if that would be OK, but she was really terribly upset and said ‘I just want to go home’. I said to him: "Look something’s happened tonight, I’m not sure what, but she’s clearly upset and uncomfortable about it and she want's to come home".
He became extremely angry as I lifted her into my arms. He gripped her left arm hard digging his fingers into her school jumper. He then moved in very close; his nose almost touching mine.
I don’t even know what he was saying to me I was just so freaked out looking at his fingers embedded in her school jumper.
Everyone was watching and Lily was staring at him in shock, whimpering.
I told him firmly to let go of her arm and to move back or I’d call the police. He followed us outside and got back in my face pointing his finger at me and said ‘you’re a fucking psycho’. As I pulled my phone out he stalked off telling me I’d hear from his lawyers.
All the way to the car, Lily kept looking around and over her shoulder, with frantic whispers; ‘Is he following us? Is he watching us?’
The moment I got her into safely to the car and shut the door, her little fingers fumbling with her seat belt, she went to pieces.
Lily cried all the way home, still whispering between sobs, fears that maybe daddy would follow us. She was worried what he might do at his home. her terrors where coming at her from all directions. and I think now she’s worried that he might damage her toys; her fish.
She told me he’d been kicking people’s chairs away and yelling at her because she sent me a text.
He sent an angry email later summarizing events but heavily edited – especially the parts about her asking me to come and his gripping her arm like a vice to prevent her from leaving.
I called the local Police and made a report. I’d been in there just the day before asking about what help if any I could get.
They had asked over the phone if they could take a statement from Lily which they didn't end up doing when they arrived around 9:30pm. Damn I could've had her settled in bed with a mild sedative.
I got the impression, could be wrong though, that my having typed out the story didn't work in my favor. One of the male officers said he was a parent and he seemed the most skeptical. I told them the history and he asked if Claude had been diagnosed so I confirmed he'd been diagnosed with Severe Clinical Depression in 2013 and sectioned under the mental health act in 2014, during a severe manic episode. I explained he'd had two stays in a locked mental health unit.
I told them that Claude had already 'accidentally' hurt Lily during a fight. She'd tried to lock herself in the bathroom and he'd chased her, forced the door and hurt her in the process.
But the officer just kept saying we can’t get in the middle of a family court matter. Leave it to the lawyers etc..
Even with all that history, he seemed to think it was just a couple of cranky parents fighting over the kid.
I mentioned a six o'clock news item I'd been listening to while we were waiting on Lily finishing guitar. I told them; "A woman was killed today, by her partner over child custody." The officers response: " I think that was in another state..'
Do they believe that makes me immune?!
I just don't understand how anyone expects to avoid another Luke Batty incident if no one will take the warning signs seriously until after something disastrous has happened.
I told them I am genuinely fearful for Lily's safety when she's with Claude because his condition has deteriorated to the point where he clearly has so little control and especially over his temper.
I told them what I told our case worker, that I have genuine and justified concerns that he will lose control with her again and the outcome will be more serious than a hurt hand the next time.
Lily is quite fearful of being made to go to her father's in the coming weeks; she's afraid of what he might do to her for sending me the text to come get her last night (and the one she sent the previous Thursday saying he was being mean).
I wish there was more I could do, but with his doctors and the police apparently waiting for one of us to be assaulted first (even though I came damned close last night) I don't know what else I can do. Child services?
Anyway the upshot of the police interview last night is that they would be willing to file a Non-Urgent AVO on Lily's behalf which would mean court appearances all round and I think she's been through enough, she's pretty traumatized after last night.
However, the Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy representative is taking this very seriously and has reported it to the relative authorities under Mandatory Reporting guildlines for child protection.
At least some are trying to prevent more disasters rather than prosecute after the fact.
All of this, frightening as it is, is kind of timely as my Lawyer was in the process of drafting a letter to Claude's lawyers.
We have told him until he is assessed and we are assured that his treatment is on track and his Dr is responsive to all of the warning signs, out of control behaviour, he wont have any unsupervised visits with Lily.
I will have to watch over her like a hawk until we have court orders, but I've already been doing that in past weeks. His only recourse is to comply and get serious help, or fight it out in court. With his medical history and previous assault charges, that would be an uphill battle.
And the more I deal with this new side of Claude the more I'm convinced, aside from Bi-Polar Disorder he also has a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). The more I read on that the more I can make sense in our history together.