‘Pure evil’: Wife’s 40-year hell at hands of DV monster
The eulogy Michael Mitchell wrote for his wife of 40 years spoke of young love and old regrets, of a dream life filled with travel and children and success.
"Thank you all for attending this very, very sad occasion," the first line read.
"I have no idea why Angie did this. She had a loving forever home here with me surrounded by all her treasures and her animals.
"However, Angela made her choice and we must respect that choice."
There were many problems with the eulogy Mitchell wrote to "honour" his wife - the main one being that she was not dead.
And when Angie discovered it, along with letters addressed to her regarding a life insurance policy she had not taken out, it seemed clear her husband was still planning to kill her.
This is how life had been since she was 18 - years of terror, of threats and abuse, in one of the most horrifying examples of coercive control imaginable.
She met him at a nightclub and wasn't overly impressed - despite his Gucci shoes, his sharp dress and obvious confidence. He seemed arrogant.
But he asked her out and she said yes, and for a while, he worked his charm.
"What I had was this charming, much older man, who was 14 years older than me, very handsome ... and he just, I suppose looking back on it now, the term was the 'love bombing' phase," Angie said, hoping her story will help other women who are in abusive relationships.
"He just took me out all the time, we went out to London, all these clubs, out to dinners. I fell in love. But that wasn't who I fell in love with. What I fell in love with was a lie."
They were still dating when she saw his anger for the first time. They'd been out with a group of friends and he'd wanted to leave. She told him she was staying - and thought nothing of it.
She arrived at his place later and he "lost the plot".
"Slamming doors, banging on tables, in my face, calling me a f... whore and a c... and then he went upstairs and I literally sat at this dining table all night. I didn't even dare move from it."
He broke it off after that but a week later was working his charm anew.
After they married, she learned about the real Mitchell - a controlling, abusive man who thought of her as a possession and a servant. The charming man who took her out for expensive dinners was gone.
"He disappeared. And what I had was pure evil," she said.
Mitchell soon learned that threatening suicide got him what he wanted. He did it when Angie wanted to see her friends. Soon she had no friends.
He made her bring him his meals, but forced her to eat alone in the kitchen of their sprawling Sunshine Coast home - and only when she had finished serving him anything he wanted.
"Cleaner/housekeeper, laundry maid, chef, personal shopper, kitchen hand, washer-upper, barista, char wallah, landscaping supervisor, egg production manager, animal manager, part-time chauffeur, sex worker, reality checker," he wrote of her in a list of Angie's "attributes".
He would take her shopping and select her clothing, telling her she had no "style or class" and would insist she buy a size too small to have something to "aspire to".
His suicide threats became more and more extreme and twice he staged scenes to terrify her - including leaving his car in the garage, the engine running, set up to make it look as though he was dead inside.
He once held a gun to her head and on many other occasions, forced her to sit on the couch while he recited suicide methods in graphic detail to her, insisting she pick the one he would use.
After 40 years, one of her daughters told her to call the police and drove her to see a domestic violence counsellor, telling her "this isn't normal mum".
She was terrified he'd find out.
Eventually, having never been allowed to work and having no way to support herself, she went back to him.
They lived together in Vanuatu for seven months, where he continued to terrorise her.
"I woke up one morning and he was standing over the top of me. He said to me, do you know what I did when you were asleep? He said that while I was asleep, he had put his finger on my carotid artery."
He told her he would have killed her in her sleep.
"And you wouldn't have even known," Mitchell told her.
She packed a bag and left for Queensland three days later, returning only in an attempt to have him sign paperwork for a divorce.
Mitchell killed himself while she was there.
Angie says her life today is still difficult, as she battles Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Stockholm syndrome.
Through Beyond DV, a support organisation for women recovering from domestic abuse, she has made friends and is slowly learning to laugh and live outside the shadow of coercive control.
"It should be called coercive domestic violence," she said of yesterday's announcement.
"Control does not take it far enough. It is not a serious enough word for what I experienced."
Originally published as 'Pure evil': Wife's 40-year hell at hands of DV monster