THE second wife of Peter Tobin has told of her terror living with a man she described as “pure evil, absolute evil”.
Sylvia Jeffries described living a tortured life between marrying Tobin in 1973 and fleeing him in fear for her life after the tragic death, at only two days old, of their second child.
Here is a transcript of the interview which she gave to Five News' Jason Farrell:
SYLVIA: “When I married him, I married him out of fear. I didn’t think far enough ahead of what he would do once I was married to him. You have flashbacks of laying on the bed with him, with his arms around your throat. He’s just pure evil, absolute evil”.
JASON FARRELL: “They lived together in Brighton. Tobin’s aggression first showed itself when the couple got a dog”.
SYLVIA: “He started ill treating it. He shouted at it to get out of the way, swinging it around by its lead and I’m thinking, oh-oh”.
JASON FARRELL: “Tobin’s violent temper soon turned on his wife”.
SYLVIA: “I can remember one day being by the window with a curtain round me. I don't know how I got there but he must have knocked me across the room. He had this knife, threatened me with this knife. At one point he said, oh I’m going to kill you. His temper just had to go and it would go by hitting the wall, hitting the door, hitting me”.
JASON FARRELL: “So how did things change when your first child was born?”
SYLVIA: “The rocking of the cot used to make him mad and I used to go to the cot and go, please be quiet, please be quiet, you’ll make him crosser”.
JASON FARRELL: “The couple’s second child, Clare, was born (in Brighton) at Sussex County Hospital. She died two days later because of breathing difficulties”.
SYLVIA: “My baby died when she was two days old. But I feel that she died so that we could escape from him. It was easier for me with one child than it would have been with two and it was like she was saying to me, ‘Right mum, go’”.
JASON FARRELL: “From hospital, Sylvia returned to the couple’s ground floor flat in Brighton and it was from here she planned her escape. She found the number of a refuge and she waited for him to go out”.
SYLVIA: “I just literally got a carrier bag with some stuff for my child and a push chair, that’s all we had. I can’t explain the fear that I had. If he’d have come back, he would have killed me”.
JASON FARRELL: “She was told the refuge could provide her with a safe house in London so they went to the station”.
SYLVIA: “And even when we got on the train and it drew out of the station, I was really still petrified. Gradually I calmed down – we’re going, we’re going away, I don't know where we’re going, I had no idea where we were going but I didn’t care”.
JASON FARRELL: “For years she feared that Tobin was out there looking for her. Only now that he is behind bars does Sylvia feel safe to visit her daughter’s grave”.
SYLVIA: “I didn’t know where he was, he could have been anywhere. She is still obviously special to me, that was the biggest relief of all to know that I could go up to her grave and I know she’s not there but I can talk to her and thank her and just tell her what we’re all doing and walk freely through the graveyard”.