A domestic abuse survivor has told how her twisted ex would hide her left shoes in a bid to keep her stuck in the house.
Lauren MacDonald, 36, was at one point left stranded for a week as her violent boyfriend found ways to strand her in their home.
The 36-year-old first met John McMillan on a dating app in February 2017 and was immediately won over by his charm, which she has likened to serial killer Ted Bundy’s.
Lauren, from Scotland, was blissfully happy at first.
But within a matter of weeks McMillan had begun verbally abusing her and telling her what she could wear, she told the Daily Record.
In a bid to stop her leaving the house, Lauren told how McMillan took all her left shoes away in a black bin bag – leaving her stranded inside the house for a week.
After a family BBQ in June 2017, a drunken John launched his first physical attack which left Lauren with a black eye and severe bruising.
After a grovelling apology, she decided to stay but was forced to bandage and care for his damaged hand which he had smashed up on her face.
She eventually plucked up the courage to tell her family what had been happening and played them a series of phone recordings she had taken over the last 11 months.
McMillan pleaded guilty to assaulting Lauren and abusing two other former partners in a hearing at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court last month.
Lauren, from Glenrothes, Fife, has decided to speak out in a bid to find any other victims and to encourage women suffering domestic abuse to seek help.
She said: "I met John through Plenty of Fish in 2017. It turns out he was the year above me at school, I just didn't know him. We'd never run in the same circles.
"He lived a five minute walk from my house. I instantly thought he was a good guy, a proper family man.
"I had been in a bad relationship previously so I was a bit nervous. But with John, it was good to begin with.
"The abuse started over money. He wasn't working and I had already lent him money but he hadn't paid me back so I refused to give him anymore.
"He would tell me I was selfish, I was horrible and that my mum would be disgusted with me.
"I have fibromyalgia so when I'd have bad days where I was in a lot of pain, he would say that I was faking it because I just wanted attention and that I was a drug abuser.
"I thought about leaving him and I tried so many times. But he would always issue more threats which made me stay. "
She continued: "I used to go out during the day with my family but he didn't like me doing that without him so he took every single left shoe that I owned for a week.
"I didn't know what he was doing at the time, but he left the house with a black bag full of them so I couldn't go out.
"I had a favourite pair of jeans that I absolutely loved and made me feel confident. He knew this and destroyed them right in front of me – ripping them to pieces.
"Makeup was also a no go. He said I couldn't wear it or he would start asking questions about who I was trying to impress.
"But when we were out together, he'd tell me he had to walk behind me because I was such an embarrassment and he was ashamed to be seen with me.
"I started to believe what he was saying. That I was selfish and horrible. He then started trying to put distance between me and my family.
"He would say they had been talking about me behind my back and that they didn't believe I was sick. He's like Ted Bundy. He's not a serial killer, I know that, but he's got that charm about him.
"When I told my family the truth, I made them listen to the recordings because I didn't think they would believe me without them. He had everybody fooled.
"It was awful how much he managed to mess with my head. I didn't realise what was going on was abuse, I thought everything was happening because I wasn't being good enough."
John first became physically abusive after a BBQ with Lauren's family where he allegedly necked glasses of straight vodka.
When the couple got home, Lauren says she was accused of 'looking down her nose' at him for drinking before the thug launched a vicious attack.
Brave Laura explained: "He started going through my drawers looking for my medication. By this point, I had started hiding it because he would take it away from me and laugh.
"He then asked for money to go buy cannabis but I wouldn't give him any. I was crying and got up and walked downstairs but he came flying down them at the back of me.
"He spat on my face and dragged me by the hair into the living room. He started punching me and head-butted me in the face.
"I lost my balance and was dazed. Then he threw me through the television and I landed on top of it. He pulled me back over it and he was kicking and stomping down on me. I was bleeding and had a big swollen, black eye.
"Afterwards, he begged me to forgive him and said he would make it all better. He said he must've 'blacked out' from the alcohol and couldn't remember anything that happened.
"For the next week, I had to bandage his hand and give him painkillers because he was convinced he had broken his knuckle. He completely ignored the fact that he had broken it on my face."
Despite her horrific injuries, Lauren didn't call the police and was forced to hide away from her family for the next two weeks while the bruises healed.
She prayed the situation would improve but the verbal, threats of violence and physical abuse continued for several more weeks.
"He said he could turn up at my house at any time, whenever he wanted and he would always have a knife on him.
"He's nasty, he's mean and he's scary but once he breaks you and you're in tears, the look of absolute joy that comes over his face is just unbelievable.
"He would say 'I warned you I would get the last laugh'. But I didn't do anything to deserve this other than refuse to hand him over money for cannabis", Lauren said.
She spent Christmas with John and her family but noticed he started to 'pull away' shortly after the New Year.
On a family holiday to Jamaica in February, she finally found the courage to tell her loved ones what had been happening.
She eventually went to the police and gave a five hour interview which alerted officers to two previous victims.
John was subsequently arrested and the case slowly progressed through the court system with several delays.
He has now admitted seven charges and is due to be sentenced later this month.
Lauren added: "I feel vindicated because if he had been found guilty, I think he would've just said that the system had screwed him and he could still tell the world that I'm a liar.
"But the fact that he's pled guilty to it all, I think that now people will have to believe me.
"There are still people who think I must've provoked him into doing it because he's just so charming, manipulative and clever."
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