A single mum has revealed how she required 52 surgeries after her ex hit her in the head with a baseball bat up to 50 times as she fronts a campaign against domestic violence.
Glenn Cable, 47, attacked Simone O’Brien, 41, at her Brisbane home in front of her teenage daughters on September 25, 2012 when she ended their nine-month relationship.
The divorced mother-of-three has shared her story to encourage other victims of domestic violence to speak out in a campaign by Australian and New Zealand police.
Simone O’Brien, 41, is now the face of an anti-domestic campaign after her ex smashed her skull with a baseball bat when she ended the relationship
‘I look up and a baseball is coming down on me,’ she said in Victorian Police video posted on Facebook.
‘In the next ten minutes I endured 45 to 50 hits with a baseball bat.
‘I thought I was going to die.’
Cable was sentenced to 15 years jail for attempted murder in 2014.
Ms O’Brien had been separated from her children’s father, Trevor, for four years when she decided to try online dating.
Ms O’Brien pictured in hospital fighting for her life after the savage attack
It was a long road to recovery for the single mother, pictured with her son Zach in hospital
When she came across Gable, a real estate agent, she felt he would be a ‘safe’ match because she knew police checks were necessary to get a licence for that job – but once they began dating ‘little red flags grew’.
After he was introduced to her children, Gabby, Ashling and Zach but he became jealous of the time she spent with them and also deleted her friends’ numbers from her phone.
Paying for everything in the relationship, Ms O’Brien called it off but got back together with Mr Cable when he proposed to her in front of her children.
Struggling to find a way out of the relationship, she decided to break things off swiftly via text.
That evening Gable stormed over to her house and took her to the bedroom where he beat her relentlessly with the weapon that he had – unbeknownst to her – stored under her bed.
Glenn Cable, shown here in a picture from his online dating profile, beat Ms O’Brien until her skull caved in
Her left arm snapped in two places and the top of her jaw was shattered so badly that she could barely open her mouth two millimetres.
She was left blind in one eye after both eye sockets, her nose and right cheekbone were broken and her skull was completely shattered.
‘It wasn’t actually until six months later when I had moved to the brain rehab unit that I had actually found out what had happened to me,’ she said.
‘[Before that] I actually had a sign above my head saying: “Do not tell Simone what had happened” because they wanted to know how much damage had been done to my brain.’
An X Ray of Ms O’Brien’s skull shows the section that collapsed during the attack
Although the mother-of-three escaped with her life she needed 52 surgeries
Her two daughters, aged 12 and 15 at the time, threw phones and pillows at him and pleaded with him to stop before they were forced to call triple-0
‘He was still going on me. I looked over and I said to my eldest Gabby, go and get help, go and get Mummy help,’ Ms O’Brien told 9 News.
Neighbour Karen Roper ran into help her and was horrified by what she found.
‘I couldn’t make out any features at all… her face was mush,’ she told A Current Affair.
Ms O’Brien was placed in an induced coma and spent a month in hospital fighting for her life with injuries so horrific paramedics that responded to the call-out described them as the worst they’d ever seen.
Ms O’Brien was left blind in one eye after both eye sockets were broken but says now she feels ‘amazing’ and ‘happy in her own skin’
Titanium plates were used to rebuild her skull and hold it in position.
Two years after the attack she was still being treated every couple of weeks at Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Brain Rehab Unit.
During recovery, Ms O’Brien’s ex husband Trevor offered his support and the couple reunited after being divorced for six years.
Cable will be eligible to apply for parole release on March 24, 2025.
The campaign came ahead of the Australia and New Zealand Police Family and Domestic Violence Forum on Tuesday in Melbourne.
Simone and Trevor, the father of her children, pictured years before her attack at the hands of Glenn Cable
Ms O’Brien was a speaker at the two-day gathering, which brought together 120 police from both countries to share insight and develop new strategies to combat and prevent family violence.
‘By sharing my story I really hope I encourage other women, children, and if there’s male survivors out there to speak up,’ she said.
‘Please don’t be scared. We need to get your help.
‘We all need to work together as a team and stamp this out.’
Intimate partner violence is the greatest health risk factor for women aged 25-44.
From 2012 to 2014 there were 99 female intimate partner homicides in Australia.
Relationship red flags you should never ignore:
* Watch out for someone trying to control your life by isolating you from others. Ms O’Brien said the man who attacked her had been deleting contact from her phone so she couldn’t ring friends or contact work colleague
* Ms O’Brien said even small acts of violence, such as a pinch, should be noted as a red flag
* She also advised those who may be experience any form of domestic violence, including minor incidents, to report these to police