My wife tried to kill me to protect her secret

David thought his marriage was a happy one. In fact, his wife was hiding something shocking.

David Lyons, 68, Wattle Camp, Qld

I stared at the computer in confusion. The message on the screen didn’t make any sense. What did it mean?

The email was addressed to my wife Kay. She and I ran a cleaning company together and this message was from a business associate of ours.

Dear Kay, it said. Please accept our condolences on the recent loss of your daughter, however we will still need the full payment of $1800 that is in arrears.

What? My mind was spinning with shock. I was horrified.

Kay and I had one precious daughter, Amanda, 35, but she was definitely alive and well. Why was Kay saying our daughter had died? And what was this $1800 debt?

Closing the email, I went to find Kay for an explanation. When I asked about the message, her cheeks flushed with embarrassment.

‘I’m sorry,’ she said. ‘I lied.’ Kay went on to explain that she’d told our associate Amanda had died because she was behind on the bookkeeping and needed more time to pay them what we owed.

It was a huge, sickening lie to tell and as Kay spoke, warning bells rang loud and clear. For good reason.

Me and Kay in happier times – Our wedding day. (Credit: Supplied)

Ten years earlier, my wife had kept a shocking secret from me. A secret that had only been revealed when I discovered she had a credit card in her name that was more than $10,000 in debt.

‘I have a gambling problem,’ she had finally confessed. ‘I put all my money into the pokies. I can’t stop!’

I’d been knocked sideways. But when Kay promised she’d never touch the pokies again, I knew I had to give her a second chance.

We were a team. She was my soulmate. I loved her so much. It was a huge hurdle, but paying off the debt together, we later moved from New Zealand to Queensland to start a new life.Things had gone smoothly.

Kay was true to her word and in 2010, we bought our cleaning business together. With all that gambling nonsense behind us, I had happily allowed Kay to take over the bookkeeping.

Everything seemed perfect. In time, Amanda even moved from New Zealand to Australia too. Except now, a year on, I was seriously worried. Had Kay’s old habits resurfaced?

Things were good. (Credit: Supplied)

“Crumpling to the floor, I was powerless.”

Vowing to do some more digging, the next morning I logged on to the computer again to check our finances. Straight away, I knew that there was something wrong. We were behind in nearly all our payments. Could it really be Kay…?

But before I could confront my wife, I heard her voice behind me.  ‘What are you doing?’

Turning around, I saw that she was standing in the room holding a hammer.

‘I’m just having a look over our records, love,’ I said calmly, trying not to overreact.

But just then, I clicked on a link and came across another credit card I’d not known about. It was $10,000 in debt. My wife had betrayed me again.

‘Kay, what is this?’ I asked her, turning in my seat and pointing to the screen. My wife stepped towards me, a cold look in her eye.

Turning back to the computer, I didn’t see her raise the hammer above her head. All I knew, was that suddenly I felt a hard blow to my left temple. Oh my god…

Crumpling to the floor, I was powerless as Kay continued to strike me with the hammer, again and again.

‘Die! Die! Die!’ she chanted, as if she was in a trance. Finally, her attack stopped.

‘Kay, you need to call an ambulance,’ I mumbled in a pained daze. My wife walked calmly to the phone, no emotion registering on her face. She dialled a number and spoke quietly for a moment before hanging up.

‘I called one,’ she told me. But she hadn’t.

Me with my daughter, Amanda. (Credit: Supplied)

Minutes ticked by with no sound of sirens and gradually I began to realise that Kay’s phone call had been a fake.

‘I can’t live with you and I can’t live without you,’ she explained to me. My heart raced. I have to get out of here, I thought in a panic. I had thought that my wife was the love of my life. Now I had no idea what she was capable of.

Using the last of my strength, I pushed past Kay and stumbled out the door. Collapsing at the end of the driveway, I didn’t even have the strength to call for help.

Everything that happened next passed in a blur. I remember Kay being by my side, then disappearing. I recall strangers and neighbours gathering around. Finally, an ambulance arrived. I was safe!

As I drifted in and out of consciousness, Kay’s calm, emotionless face kept flashing in my mind. ‘You’re going to need surgery to remove fragments of skull from your brain,’ a doctor told me, explaining that my injuries could have been life threatening if I hadn’t got help sooner.

For the next week, I stayed in hospital as my wounds gradually began to heal. ‘Mum’s been arrested,’ Amanda said sadly when she came to take me home. I was hardly surprised when the police told me my wife had been charged with my attempted murder.

But I felt numb too. My own wife had tried to kill me. The shock of it all was too much to bear. How would I ever face her again? But I had to.

After earlier pleading not guilty to attempted murder, in September 2014, my wife of 35 years, Kay Te Atarangi Lyons, then 55, appeared at Brisbane Supreme Court, where she changed her plea to guilty.

The court heard my wife had tried to bash me to death as part of a murder-suicide plot after I’d discovered the extent of the debts she’d built up. Kay was sentenced to eight years in prison. I feel neither joy nor relief.

In spite of everything, Kay was my wife. I thought our relationship was one of life’s great love stories. It pains me that I was wrong. It hurts that she threw our marriage and her freedom away, all for her dark secret.

In some ways, I feel sorry for her. I don’t ever want anyone else to make the same mistake.

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