What It’s Like To Listen To Your Mother Being Raped And Murdered By A Stranger

Mother murdered - Sarah was just 12 when she heard her 30-year-old mother Crystal Perry being murdered by a stranger
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A woman has opened up about listening to her mother’s screams as she was raped and murdered by a stranger.

Sarah Parry, who was 12 at the time, then had to wait over a decade before her mother Crystal Perry’s killers were brought to justice.

She was just 30 and bringing up Sarah on her own when she was raped and stabbed more than 50 times in her kitchen.

Next door, all Sarah could do was cower in the next room listening to what was going on.

She said: ‘I’d gone to bed, after enjoying an ordinary day with my mother and having dinner with her.

‘I heard her screaming, “No!”, before hearing a kitchen drawer opening and the sound of knives clinking against each other.

‘At first, I wasn’t alarmed. I thought my mum and her then-partner were arguing. But there was yelling and a loud, thudding noise and I knew something was very wrong.’

murdered by a stranger - Mother murdered

She waited 12 years to bring her mother’s killer to justice (Picture: PA Real Life)

Eventually Sarah built up the courage to go into the kitchen where she saw her mother’s body.

She said: ‘I called 911 to get the emergency services, but the phone lines weren’t working,’

Fearing for her safety, Sarah ran outside and banged on neighbours’ doors – but no one answered, so, her heart thumping, she kept running for a mile, before finding an Italian cafe that was still open.

‘All the way I was thinking, ‘Mom might be okay, although I don’t think I really believed it,’ recalled Sarah. ‘The police were called and she was dead. They did a really through investigation and, of course, I was the key witness.

‘For a long time, they were convinced I must have witnessed something and repressed it, but I hadn’t. I’d stayed in my room.’

Moving to live with an aunt in Texas, Sarah was gutted when, despite their hard work, police found no solid leads. After that, she went to university in North Carolina.

Sarah, now 35, single and working as a writer and fact-checker, tried to put the horror of her mum’s murder behind her, remembering how she was ‘more like a sister’ than a mother.

Mother murdered - Michael Hutchinson was jailed for life for the murder

Michael Hutchinson was jailed for life for the murder (Collect/PA Real Life)

‘Some people thought we were sisters,’ she said. ‘We would do things together. We’d go to the mall, out for dinner and to the movies. We were really close.’

She stayed angry with the man, who had murdered the mother she loved, but was determined to move on with her life.

The rape and killing happened on May 12, 1994, in Bridgton, Maine, the town where Stephen King set his novel The Mist which became a Netflix series.

‘Of course, I was angry,’ she said. ‘The person that killed her had taken away her future and left me without her.

‘But, I thought she’d be proud of me – for moving on and going to college. However, I didn’t go home. It held too many bad memories. And the person who had killed her was still out there.’

Then, in 2006 she received a call from a Maine number – sending her into panic mode.

‘As I answered I was nervous,’ she explained. ‘Then the police said something I will never forget. ‘There is a DNA match.”

A local Bridgton man, a mason called Michael K Hutchinson, who was just 19 at the time of Crystal’s death, had been arrested for threatening someone.

A DNA sample linked him to the horrific murder all those years earlier. Finally, after waiting for 12 long years, Sarah would see justice done.

In 2007, she took to the stand at Cumberland County Court, giving an impassioned speech about her memories of that night and how it had affected her.

‘I went back home for the trial,’ she said. ‘In court, Hutchinson denied the offence, saying he was innocent. But he was found guilty.’

Convicted of murder, he was sentenced to life in jail.

Reports from a 2009 appeal, lodged at Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court, which Hutchinson lost, said: ‘[T]he victim… was stabbed over 50 times, with sufficient force that the knife tip actually broke off and became embedded in her head, all in addition to the fatal wound she sustained in her chest.

‘At some point during this stabbing, the victim was screaming. This case involves a brutal sexual assault and murder.’

While Sarah is relieved to have some closure, she cannot forgive the brute who killed her mum.

‘Maybe I could if he admitted it,’ she said. ‘But he hasn’t, so how can I? I can’t go and see him and have a dialogue.’

At last facing her demons, in the past year, Sarah has returned to Maine and looked into her mother’s murder herself.

‘I’ve been back home, searched through the police files and learnt about mum,’ she explained. ‘The police put in hundreds and hundreds of hours of work and, as a result, it was easy to convict her killer once they had a DNA match.’

Glad that her mum can finally rest in peace, Sarah feels sure she has grown into a woman she would be proud of.

‘I am living in Brooklyn, New York, I’m educated and I am happy,’ she smiled. ‘I’m sure she would think I’ve done well and be proud of me.’

After The Eclipse by Sarah Perry is available for preorder now at audible.co.uk

Courtesy: metro.co.uk

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