A woman who was nearly murdered by her own son has revealed that he started showing signs of his future crime when he was just a toddler.
Helen Smith, a health assistant in London's Woolwich, was taken prisoner by Sean Wilson, her only child, in March last year. The 44-year-old recently opened up to The Sun about the torture her son subjected her to for a sickening eight-hours, until he fell asleep and she managed to escape and call the police.
Wilson, 23, tormented his mother by brutally slapping, punching, and strangling her, and documented his actions on film. He has been jailed for eight years for his terrifying crime, which left his mother afraid for her life.
"Sadly, people think domestic violence only occurs in relationships and marriages. But it can happen at the hands of your children too. I loved my son and never thought he'd hurt me like this. I'll never forgive him," she said.
Smith revealed that she had seen the first signs of Wilson's abusive nature when he was just a toddler and "would have tantrums over the smallest things." She kept telling herself that he would grow out of it, but he was "constantly angry" even as he grew older.
"Sean would bite me, spit at me and throw things at me. It got so bad that when he was three, I sent him to anger management classes. It was horrendous and I really struggled," said Smith, who raised her only child as a single mother.
She continued to battle with Wilson, who was shouting and swearing at her every day, but the worst started to happen when he reached his teenage years. In 2016, when the culprit was 17, he had a girlfriend and abused her as well. In May 2017, the girl came to stay with the mother-son duo for the weekend, when his anger issues overpowered others.
Smith recalled, "I heard them arguing in the living room. I rushed in and stood between them, trying to break it up. Suddenly, Sean threw me over the coffee table and I hit my head on the corner. I blacked out."
When she woke up, she was shocked to find out that her son attacked her again even when she was unconscious from his first attack. "When I came around, police officers were arresting Sean and I felt this sudden pain in my hand. There was blood pouring out of it. A police officer told me Sean had stabbed me with a kitchen knife. After all those years, I never expected him to actually harm me. I couldn't believe it," she recounted.
Around a year after the attack, Wilson confessed his crime and pleaded guilty to one count of ABH against Helen at Woolwich Crown Court, for which he was jailed for four years. His mother still forgave him, and took him back to her home, only to realise that the worst was yet to happen.
"At first I was angry but after he was jailed, I felt so guilty. I couldn't stop thinking how my son was in jail because of me. Despite what he'd done, I still loved him," Helen explained about her decision, adding that Wilson sounded sincere in an apology letter he wrote from prison and so she started visiting him every week.
"I told him how he needed to learn from this and he promised he'd change. I truly believed him," she said.
Smith said that when he was released early from prison in March last year, he "seemed like a different person, was on his best behaviour and nice to be around." But within just a week of his release, he asked his mother for a fork while they were eating a takeaway, and soon made his attack.
"He was right by the kitchen so I asked why he couldn't get it himself. He grumbled, so I went to the kitchen to fetch him one. But as I opened a drawer, Sean punched me in the head and I fell to the floor. Horrified, I asked what he was doing," she recalled about the ordeal.
"He began slapping and punching the side of my head again. Sean then grabbed two kitchen knives and screamed that it was my fault he went to prison. I was terrified," she added.
Wilson kept his mother trapped in the kitchen for several hours and continued his physical and verbal abuse, and even refused to let her go to the toilet, leading her to wet herself.
"Eventually Sean dragged me into the living room and put me into a headlock and began strangling me. I thought I was going to die. He filmed it all on his phone too," she recalled.
Around 5am, Wilson walked into Smith's bedroom and fell asleep, and she found herself locked in with her mobile hidden and the landline unplugged.
"I realised he'd planned this all along. After searching desperately, I finally found the backdoor key down the side of the sofa. I limped into the garden and found my mobile in the bushes. Distraught, I called the police," she said.
Wilson was then arrested for a second time, while Smith received treatment for her multiple injuries, including black eyes and bruises all over her body.
"I was in agony. But what hurt more was that my own son had done this to me," she said.
Wilson pleaded guilty to one count of ABH and one count of false imprisonment at Woolwich Crown Court in December 2020, and was sentenced to prison for eight years. Smith said about his punishment, "This time I felt no guilt and it didn't feel like enough."
"I'll never forgive my son for this. He's a monster," she said, revealing that the ordeal has left her suffering from panic attacks and nightmares.