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Mother escapes abusive marriage after filming her husband threatening her with a knife

A mother-of-two trapped in an abusive marriage has revealed how she used home security cameras to catch her husband wielding a hunting knife in the bedroom to convict the father of her children after decades of abuse.

Elizabeth Maclean’s husband Colin – a Gold Coast motorhome mogul – was outwardly kind, caring and attentive.  

But at home he wielded a desperate need to control and intimidate his wife – starting when Elizabeth became pregnant with their first child and continuing over the next 31 years.

  

Elizabeth (right) and Colin (left) Maclean appeared to have it all: two loving sons, a sprawling Gold Coast home and a business that turned over $18 million a year at its peak

At home Colin (right) wielded a desperate need to control and intimidate his wife (left) and on one occasion threw a hunting knife into a mattress to remind her how sharp it was (pictured)

At home Colin (right) wielded a desperate need to control and intimidate his wife (left) and on one occasion threw a hunting knife into a mattress to remind her how sharp it was (pictured)

Elizabeth says she deeply regrets not walking out the first time her husband punched her in the head.

Elizabeth's son Ben (above) said: 'As kids we had a great life ... it's only been about the last three years that it's literally fallen inside out'

Elizabeth’s son Ben (above) said: ‘As kids we had a great life … it’s only been about the last three years that it’s literally fallen inside out’

‘He would try to make it up to me by being really attentive, or giving me things, so looking back now I kind of got trapped in that cycle and the control just sort of got deeper and deeper with him,’ she told A Current Affair.

Outwardly, the couple had a perfect life: two loving sons, a sprawling Gold Coast home and a business that turned over $18 million a year at its peak. 

Elizabeth kept the emotional and physical violence from her sons, her family and her friends.  

Elizabeth’s son Ben said: ‘I’m kind of amazed really, that’s probably the best way to describe it because as kids we had a great life, it was good, it has only been about the last three years or so that it’s literally fallen inside out.’

The marriage declined when the couple’s business went into receivership in March last year.  

Vision of the attacks played in closed court showed Colin hit his wife across the head in the driveway and pour a drink over her head in the doorway (pictured) 

Vision of the attacks played in closed court showed Colin hit his wife across the head in the driveway and pour a drink over her head in the doorway (pictured) 

Elizabeth set up CCTV around the house, installed an alarm system and turned her bedroom into a safe room complete with a panic button, kitchen and bolted doors.

‘I had a fridge, microwave, full tea making facilities and fry pans … it was almost like a miniature safe flat … I could stay here overnight and not come out ’til the morning, until it was daylight literally,’ she revealed. 

Vision of the attacks played in closed court showed Colin hit his wife across the head in the driveway, throw a hunting knife into a mattress to remind her how sharp it was, and pour a drink over her head in the doorway. 

After filing a police report, Elizabeth (above) knew her life would change forever. 'I actually felt like there were chains coming off the back of the car, as I was driving, it is the only way I can describe it,' she said

After filing a police report, Elizabeth (above) knew her life would change forever. ‘I actually felt like there were chains coming off the back of the car, as I was driving, it is the only way I can describe it,’ she said

‘I thought he was going to stab me, I thought he was going to stab me in the chest that’s how volatile it was,’ Elizabeth recalled.  

In another chilling piece of footage, Colin slams the door and bolts it shut to trap her inside. 

‘Once he put the bolt up I was almost throwing up, I thought I can’t get out,’ she explained. 

After filing a report at Mudgeeraba police station, Elizabeth knew her life would change forever.

‘I actually felt like there were chains coming off the back of the car, as I was driving, it is the only way I can describe it,’ she said.   

Colin MacLean pleaded guilty to seven charges, including three counts of assault occasioning bodily harm, three counts of common assault and a count of threatening violence.  

The 59-year-old was sentenced to two years prison which was wholly suspended after just six months. 

It’s a sentence Elizabeth believes isn’t enough in the face of the many women who have lost their lives at the hands of domestic violence.  

 

 

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