A courageous young mother has relived her night of terror when she battled in vain to save the life of her boyfriend, who had just beaten and brutally raped her.
Jade Rosbotham, of North Ayrshire, Scotland, was introduced to Nikolas Pirrie, who was eight years her senior, by mutual friends back in August 2016 – but she had no idea that the man she had fallen for was evil and controlling, with a ‘Jekyll and Hyde-style’ split personality.
Possessive and jealous, his mental abuse soon turned physical, with Jade receiving regular beatings – culminating in a night of appalling physical and sexual violence in August 2018, when he barged into her home as she was putting their son Isaac, now 20 months, to bed.
She tried to placate him, but there was no containing Nikolas’s volcanic rage and he exploded – attacking her before he raped her, leaving her so terrified she feared for her life.
Bravely waiving her anonymity, she told how, moments after the horrific sexual assault, Nikolas then took his own life.
Terrified, she phoned 999 – but paramedics arrived and pronounced him dead at the scene.
Now, a year on, Jade is sharing her story to raise awareness of domestic violence and encourage others in abusive relationships to leave, before it is too late.
She said: ‘I genuinely thought I was going to lose my life too, that night. It is a miracle I survived.
‘It still hasn’t sunk in what happened – I’m not sure it ever will. It feels almost like a storyline you’d see on TV.
‘Now, I want to make the most of my life by helping others. You never think it’ll happen to you. I always told myself I wasn’t the kind of woman that’d get into an abusive relationship – but the truth is, it can happen to anyone.
‘These abusers prey on your vulnerabilities and force you to fall in love with them. Even now, I struggle to remember that this wasn’t my fault.’
Jade, who is currently off work, but will return to college to study childcare soon, told how she did not tell her family when she first began seeing Nikolas as she feared they would disapprove of their eight-year age gap.
And before long, cracks started to show in the relationship she had thought was ‘true love.’
She said: ‘He was quite controlling. He wouldn’t want me to wear short skirts or dresses, saying that other guys would look at me if I did.
‘He also didn’t like hanging around with my friends as he said he didn’t know or trust them, so we were always with his instead. He’d tell me that was a way of making sure I was safe.
‘I almost convinced myself that it was sweet. I always look for the good in people and, to be honest, I’m as naive as they come.
‘I told myself his jealousy was because he cared. A few times, people tried to warn me about his behaviour, but I just couldn’t see it. To me, he was older and had his life together. He could have said anything to me, and I’d have believed it.’
When she became secretive about where she was going and who she was meeting, Jade’s family – who she lived with at the time – became suspicious that she was in a relationship.
Then, in December 2016, they found out through local gossip that she was dating Nikolas.
‘They didn’t approve and told me to leave him, but I didn’t want to hear it,’ she said. ‘I said I didn’t need them, packed my bags and left to move in with him.
‘As the relationship got worse, there were times when I desperately wanted to go back home, but I didn’t feel like I could. It was like I’d made my bed – now I had to lie in it.’
By February 2017, Jade said the relationship had hit rock bottom and Nikolas’s abuse had become physical.
She explained: ‘At first, it seemed to be alcohol that caused his outbursts, but before long, it was pretty much anything.
‘I could wake up in the morning and just know from the tension in the air whether I was going to get a beating that day.
He’d always turn everything back on me and make me feel guilty. I genuinely think he believed the stories he told himself about all the things he thought I’d done wrong.’
A true Jekyll and Hyde, Nikolas would pepper his abuse with signs of the loving, doting boyfriend Jade had fallen for – surprising her with gifts or buying her books, as he knew she loved to read.
But as quickly as the kind side of him appeared, it would vanish. Knowing he was capable of treating her well, Jade became more and more withdrawn and stopped arguing back, hoping she could bring back his kind side.
Slowly, she became cut off from all her friends, refusing to speak to them when they urged her to leave.
Then, in spring 2017, she found out that she was pregnant with Nikolas’s child.
As the levels of hCG – the pregnancy hormone – in her system were unusually low, tests did not detect it until she was 15 weeks in.
‘I thought being pregnant would mean the abuse stopped, but he didn’t care,’ said Jade, claiming that, in May 2017, she was beaten so badly she was hospitalised and confessed what had been happening to police.
Speaking of his subsequent arrest and nine month prison sentence, which he served half of, from March to July 2018, she continued: ‘I panicked right away and tried to retract my statement, but under Scottish law, once the decision has been made to prosecute, you can’t do that.
‘I was terrified, but in a way, relieved. There was enough evidence for police to charge him without me co-operating, so I figured at least I could show him I’d tried to get him out of it, but that it was beyond my control.
‘By that point, I’d been so manipulated that I actually felt guilty.’
Meanwhile, on November 26, 2017, Jade gave birth to Isaac. Then, in March 2018, Nikolas admitted a number of offences, including assault, at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court, and was sentenced to nine months in prison.
By the time he came out in July, after serving half, Jade had moved away to a new town with Isaac.
She explained: ‘I had been in contact with him when he’d been in prison, and I had been living in temporary accommodation.
‘But just as he came out, I got the chance to move to a new place. I saw it as an opportunity to test myself, to see if I could live without him.
‘I wanted to try and build my confidence and get a fresh start. My new house was virtually empty – but it was mine and Isaac’s.’
To this day, Jade has no idea how, but within two weeks of Nikolas being released from prison, he found out where she was living and showed up without warning on the night of August 6, 2018.
Reliving her night of terror, she said: ‘I was putting my son to bed when I heard him barging through the back door, screaming at me to get downstairs.
‘I ran down, but when I got there, it was like a switch had flicked and he was suddenly calm. I didn’t want to provoke him, especially as Isaac was just upstairs, so I tried to keep things calm and agreed to watch a movie with him when he asked.
‘I can’t even remember what it was, but around 15 minutes in, he switched again and turned on me, hitting me wherever he could. It was like he wanted to do as much damage as possible.
‘A voice somewhere in my head told me to go limp, like you do in a car crash. I didn’t want him to injure me so badly I couldn’t take care of my son.’
Eventually, Jade managed to convince Nikolas to let her go and check on her boy.
Racing upstairs, she locked herself in the toilet, desperately thinking of how she could get help – especially since she did not have her phone with her.
But she soon heard him coming up the stairs. She continued: ‘The words he said next will never leave me – ‘If you don’t come and get what you deserve, the kid is getting it.’
‘I left the bathroom and he attacked me again. The whole time, I was just fighting to stay alive, fighting for my son.
‘Eventually, he took me into the bedroom and raped me. Afterwards, he walked off downstairs and I lay there, feeling completely numb. It was like all my organs had been removed – I was just empty.
‘Next thing I knew I could hear a gurgling sound coming from downstairs. I was scared it was a trick to lure me back down, so I tiptoed to the landing and glanced down – and could see him in the process of taking his life.
‘I ran downstairs and tried to help him. I phoned 999 and they told me to perform CPR, but the whole time I was terrified he would wake up and kill me.
‘I prayed the ambulance would arrive quickly and, thankfully, it was there within a few minutes.’
Arriving on the scene, emergency services pronounced Nikolas dead. Jade was then taken to Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock, but her wounds were found to be superficial and she sustained no lasting physical damage.
Emotionally, though, it has been quite a different story. She said: ‘I get flashbacks all the time. But I know I need to focus on rebuilding myself so I can be a good mum.’
Now, Jade is speaking out in a bid to raise awareness of violence and abuse in relationships. She hopes to work with charities such as Women’s Aid to urge those trapped in toxic partnerships to safely leave and get help.
She concluded: ‘My main message is not to be stubborn. Listen to the people who are warning you – they aren’t doing it for no reason.
‘I convinced myself everyone was against me and Nikolas, when really, they were trying to help.
‘Now, if I can help other people – even just one person out there – then it will help me to process everything that has happened and maybe one day to find closure.’
A spokesperson for Police Scotland said: ‘Around 11.10pm on Monday 6 August 2018, police were called to an address in Mull Crescent, Irvine. Emergency services attended and a 27-year-old man was pronounced dead. There were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death and a full report was forwarded to the Procurator Fiscal.
‘A 20 year old woman was also found injured and was taken by ambulance to Crosshouse Hospital then later released. The woman is reported to have been assaulted and subjected to a serious sexual assault within the property on the Monday night.’