A WOMAN has revealed she is raising her best friend’s two young daughters as her own while their mother serves a 13 year prison sentence for
A WOMAN has revealed she is raising her best friend’s two young daughters as her own while their mother serves a 13 year prison sentence for killing their father.
Heather Savage, from Liverpool, has stepped up to care for her Fariessia “Fri” Martin’s children after her childhood friend was convicted of murdering her partner Kyle Farrell, 21.
Heather Savage has fostered her best friend’s two children after she was sentenced to 13 years[/caption]
When Fri was sentenced to 13 years in prison in 2015, Heather offered to foster the two girls as she was the only person who had known about her friend’s abusive relationship.
In a personal essay for Marie Claire, Heather describes how her best friend Fri had “begged” her not to tell anybody about the abuse.
Although the foster mum was desperate to inform authorities, she said: “All [I could] do is be there, tell her she needs to get away from him and hope that one day she’ll be ready to listen.”
The couple had known each other since primary school and first got together when they were 16 years old but had broken up several times over the years.
Heather and Fri have been friends from primary school[/caption]
Describing some of the warning signs she witnessed years ago, Heather recalled: “In that first year, they were always splitting up and getting back together.
“Fri and I bumped into him in town after one break-up and Kyle started shouting at her, calling her a ‘slag’, and then he pushed her – she had heels on and fell.”
From that moment on, Heather says her and Kyle “never liked each other after that” because she “couldn’t ‘un-see’ what he’d done.”
However when Fri fell pregnant at the age of 19, the abuse only worsened.
After witnessing Kyle “kick her in the stomach” while they were walking down the street, Heather added: “Fri fell into the road in front of oncoming cars and a big scene kicked off with me shouting at Kyle.
“I took Fri to hospital but she didn’t tell doctors the truth.”
Heather witnessed Kyle ‘kicking Fri in the stomach’ when she was pregnant with their first daughter[/caption]
Along with her unexplained “bruises, black eyes and finger marks on her arms”, Fri would stop responding to her friend’s messages after the birth of her second child less than a year after the first.
On 21 November 2014, Fri was taken into custody after she fatally stabbed her boyfriend when they got into a blazing argument.
Heather said: “Fri had grabbed a kitchen knife from the counter and shouted at him to get off. It was a single stab to his heart.”
The following summer, Fri was sentenced to 13 years in prison for Kyle’s murder and her two daughters under the age of two were taken into care.
During the trial, the court heard that Fri had returned the couple’s shared flat at 4:30am after drinking half a bottle of brandy.
Fri and Kyle got into a heated argument after he accused her of cheating on him with other men.
Liverpool Crown Court also heard that Fri had previously suspected Kyle of cheating and accused him of having a child with another woman.
Fri originally claimed Kyle had been killed by an intruder before admitting to stabbing him in self-defence[/caption]
The 22-year-old recounted how he would regularly become violent with her and there were times when she would refuse to stay in the flat with the children.
Although Fri initially claimed that Kyle had been killed by an intruder, she later admitted to stabbing him in self-defence.
After Fri was sentenced, Heather offered to take her best friend’s daughters out of the foster system and raise them herself.
She said: “I’ve known them since they were born, so they’re like my nieces. Those girls are my life now.”
Although Heather takes the children to visit their mother every month, she prefers to tell them that their mummy is living in a “castle”.
Kyle had accused Fri of cheating on him during a night out on the night he died[/caption]
Justice for Women – an organisation which supports women who have been jailed for killing violent partners in self-defence – has now picked up Fri’s case.
A spokesperson for Justice For Women said: “Fri was a young woman who experienced appalling abuse at the hands of her partner Kyle, but this was not explored in court nor was her mental health assessed.
“Justice for Women and Fri’s legal team have submitted grounds to appeal sentence and conviction. Her application to appeal was unfortunately turned down by the single judge last month.
“This was the same judge who also turned down Sally Challen’s application. Our next step is to submit grounds to a panel of three judges.
Justice for Women are now appealing Fri’s conviction[/caption]
“We hope to draw public attention to Fri’s case in much the same way as we have Sally Challen’s case.”
Sally Challen killed her husband Richard, 61, at their £1m Surrey home in 2011 and was sentenced to 22 years in prison.
The mother-of-two’s legal team told the Court of Appeal earlier this month that a change in the law which makes “coercive or controlling behaviour” a criminal offence should be taken into consideration in Sally’s case.
In an open letter published on the Justice for Women website, Sally’s sons David and James Challen say that their mother “suffered economic and abuse by our father” which made her “too dependent to leave”.
Sally has now been allowed to challenge her life sentence with a minimum of 18 years.
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