Here, Ramon, 50, tells the story in his own words.
W￼hen I first saw her raven hair and ruby red lips, I was captivated. ‘She is beautiful,’ I gasped to my friend.
Then, to my amazement, the gorgeous woman sauntered across the nightclub floor towards me. ‘Oops,’ she giggled, tripping over my foot. But the twinkle in her eyes told me she knew exactly what she was doing! It was the start of something wonderful.
Maria, or Lulu as she liked to be known, was my perfect woman. ‘You’re my king,’ she’d say, bringing me my favourite breakfast in bed.Falling madly in love, she was keen for us to marry. So in December 2009, I presented her with a ring and just a few months later we wed.‘For better or worse.‘Til death do us part,’ we said. Finally, I had my happy ending.
For a while, married life was great. Opening a successful gym, we enjoyed fancy meals out and romantic walks in the park. But, by early 2015, cracks were forming in our previously happy union. She didn’t like it when my children, Mia, now 20, Mitchell, 26, and Cris, 24, visited and was furious when I wanted to see them. The gym was struggling too, which meant me keeping a tighter hold
of the purse strings. ‘I want a divorce,’ Lulu announced out of the blue one day.
Tragically, after just a few years, proceedings were put in place to end our marriage. I didn’t think it would end this way, I thought sadly. Still, I had no idea how bad things really were, until I got a phone call. ‘Ramon,’ said a voice. ‘It’s Frank* from the gym... someone wants to kill you.’ Spluttering with laughter, I asked Frank what he meant. ‘I’m not joking,’ he insisted, explaining how, once a troubled youth, he still had some bad boy connections. Then he told me how a woman had offered him $1200 to find a hitman to kill me.
‘She offered me a first instalment to find the hitman and a second instalment when you were dead,’ he whispered. Starting to believe him, I arranged to meet later that day and full details of the conversation emerged. ‘It was Lulu,’ he admitted. My blood
ran cold. Frank said she’d contacted him, not knowing he was my friend. ‘I played along,’ he explained. ‘Then called you straight away.’ Racking our brains, we came up with a plan. ‘I’ll go and meet her,’ said Frank. ‘And pretend I know two hitmen who can carry out the job.’ ‘You can secretly record it and we’ll hand that over to the cops,’ I finished.
Seeing Frank off later that day, my heart was thumping. An hour later he was back. A nod told me all I needed to know… she’d fallen for it. Taking the taped conversation to the police, they were stunned. ‘This is quite something,’ an officer said, scratching his head. ‘It’s like a TV drama.’ True – but this was happening to me in real life!
‘I’ve got an idea,’ said an officer. ‘But it would need your help, Ramon.’ What he said next sounded like the plot of a thriller. ‘We want you to pretend to be dead,’ he said. ‘We’ll paint make-up on you, so it looks like a gunshot wound and dust you in blue powder, so you look like a corpse.‘Then we will dig a shallow grave in the outback and we’ll ‘bury’ you and take some photos.’ The detectives explained that, while I was holed up in a hotel room, an officer would pretend to be the hitman Frank hired and would show Lulu the pictures.
‘The aim is for her to confess she wanted me killed?’ I murmured, the enormity of my situation suddenly hitting home. But she’d left me no choice. So, pulling off my shirt, I lay back and let the cops paint a bloody gunshot wound on my temple. Then, in the wilderness, I lay in the dust. ‘You’re twitching there Ramon,’ said the photographer. ‘Act more dead, please.’ It was chilling. I kept reminding myself that without Frank’s tip-off, this would have been happening for real.
Back at the hotel, my phone was ringing off the hook. I hadn’t even been allowed to tell my kids what was happening. Everyone thought I was missing – apart from Lulu, who thought I was dead.
On day three of my absence, the ‘hitman’ visited her. Handing over the photos of me ‘dead’, Lulu laughed. But the last laugh was on me – because she was promptly arrested.
In October 2016, Maria Sosa, 41, appeared at the District Court in Conroe, Texas, US, where she pleaded guilty to solicitation of murder and was jailed for 20 years. Seeing her in the courthouse, wearing a drab, prison-issue jumpsuit and rubber-soled $1 shoes was quite something. ‘Normally, her footwear costs 400 times that,’ I whispered to my lawyer. ‘This will be killing her!’
Now, a year on, I am coming to terms with the fact the woman I married wanted me dead. And I’m now dating a wonderful woman who – thankfully – is nothing like Lulu. I’m happy and healthy. But most of all, I’m strong. After all – I was murdered, but came back from the dead – and there are even pictures to prove it.
Read more in this week's issue of that's life!