In episode 8 of Evil Lives Here, Claire Throssell relives her life from the moment she met Darren Sykes; the warning signals and the unsafe moments. The worry she carried for her sons' lives made her stay by his side for years until he made the final straw.
No mother should have to go through what Claire has. Throughout the documentary, she shares her venerability with us and the camera. We can see her pain, anger and determination to fight. She's telling us her story so no one has to watch their children die in front of their parent's eyes.
This year, Claire Throssell was deservedly given an MBE to show her contribution and the achievements she has made for children and their parents. She has been fighting since October 2014, alongside IDAS and Women's Aid since 2014, when her sons were taken from her. She continues this fight, and she will never give up.
The actors within the documentary create an attachment to Claire, to her sons, to strangers you see on TV that have moved Heaven and Earth to get through the trauma their lives have taken them through. The actors touch heartstrings you never thought you had or never thought could be touched with such pain.
She's changing laws, she's bringing in new laws, she's doing what is right for children
Personally, knowing Claire Throssell, I wish to talk to you, even briefly, about her amazing courage. She is the strongest woman I have ever met. She continues to fight for her sons, she continues to fight for other children who are in dangerous situations. She's changing laws, she's bringing in new laws, she's doing what is right for children.
Evil Lives Here is the perfect documentary to raise awareness of the signals we may not see. It raises awareness that adults and children are in danger like Claire and her sons.
Jack, 12, and his younger brother Paul, 9, lost their lives in a fire started by their father Darren Sykes (who also lost his life in the fire), bringing their mother to say "I don't live now. I exist." Claire talks fondly about the boys and their love for their hobbies: Jack was phenomenal when he played the trumpet, whilst Paul out ran everyone in his year and could run circles around anyone who competed against him.
The majority of photos shown in the documentary seem as though the boys are happy, yet there are so many emotions involved - none of them happy. Claire explains the events of each photo; one included her birthday, a happy occasion which is described in the complete opposite manner.
Jack told them that his dad had set fire to the house
Jack's last words were to the firefighters who saved him from the flames. He told them that his dad had set fire to the house. Investigations found that Darren Sykes had trapped the boys by locking doors and windows. He even barricaded them... Jack tried to save his brother.
The details are hard to even type, yet Claire tells us all (in detail) what happened to her boys, to her sons. The documentary is worth every single bit of attention you own because everyone needs to be made aware of the horrors life could throw our way.
These numbers can help. These numbers can save lives. Please ring if you, or someone you know, is in trouble. There are also websites for you all to check out.
National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247
IDAS Helpline: 03000 110 110
NSPCC: 0808 800 5000