A brave army veteran has spoken out after she was beaten and raped by her jealous ex who held her at knife-point for nine hours.
Carin, 29, first met Stephen Graham, from Glenrothes, Fife, at high school before she ran into him years later after returning from military service.
The pair then began a relationship, the first six weeks of which Carin described as ‘perfect’ – but Graham had hidden his controlling and violent side.
‘In my head, it was the best relationship I’d ever been in,’ Carin, who asked to withhold her surname, said.
‘I thought I had found the one. We laughed all the time and we didn’t argue even once.’
But once she got her own flat things started going downhill, with jealous Graham not allowing Carin to have any male friends, even on social media, and constantly checking her phone.
‘I was in the army for seven years as a medic on the front line, saving lives in Afghanistan, twice,’ she said.
‘I’ve been through a lot and I’ve seen a lot but my mind was trained to deal with that.
‘After this happened, I was broken. I was literally stripped to the bone. I had nothing left.
‘If someone handed me a pill to end it all, I would have. I’ve been through hell but I survived.’
Graham, also 29, first turned violent last year in September, grabbing Carin by the throat and throwing her across the living room as she was getting ready for college.
She eventually managed to escape and phone the police, who then arrested him.
He was convicted of two counts of threatening and abusive behaviour towards police officers at his flat and at Levenmouth Police Station.
But despite serving a short sentence behind bars, he still had a hold over Carin and desperately begged her for forgiveness.
‘He said he’d never hurt me again and he’d make it up to me. He was crying like a baby,’ she said.
‘I just kept remembering all the little love and affection he had shown me before. I still loved him which sounds daft now.’
Graham was released in December 2017 and the couple briefly reunited before his violent streak returned – causing them to split just days later.
But in February earlier this year, Carin had been on a night out with her friends when she was attacked outside her flat, in Markinch.
She woke up confused on the couch in Graham’s living room, where he kept her trapped, threatened her at knife-point and repeatedly raped her.
Carin was eventually able to make it to her gran’s house, where she called the police and an ambulance.
‘I knew if he caught me trying to escape, he’d kill me,’ she said.
‘I could hear my heart beating. I don’t even remember shutting the door, I think I was in shock.’
Graham was found guilty of assaulting and raping Carin following a trial at Livingston High Court and will be sentenced on October 16.
His name has also been added to the sex offenders register.
‘Looking back now, I can see how good he was manipulating me and reeling me in,’ said Carin, who now states that she has learnt not to blame herself for what happened.
‘It got to the point that he actually made me feel that I needed him. It got the point that I was trying to argue his defence with my family and friends.’
She added: ‘Now, as they say, once bitten, twice as shy. Even the slightest little sign now, I wouldn’t even entertain it. I was just so oblivious to it, I didn’t see it coming.’