A woman whose boyfriend locked her in her home, struck her with an iron bar and made her lick fresh paint off the floor is helping to support fellow domestic abuse survivors.
Mother-of-two Danielle Thomas, now 35, was left battered and bruised by footballer Reece Thompson, who has played for Retford United, Boston United and Guiseley AFC, and was a trainee at Lincoln City.
But the mother-of-two, who says she is still haunted by her ordeal, is channelling her experience into helping others and is raising awareness and money for a survivors’ retreat which will help those in a similar situation.
Ms Thomas says she felt ‘trapped’ and that her ‘spirit was broken’ by Thompson’s behaviour which peaked during the incident in September 2018.
Throughout the three-day ordeal, Worksop-born Thompson, 27, smashed her over the head with two mirrors, broke her jaw and struck her with an iron bar.
Danielle Thomas (pictured) whose boyfriend locked her in her home and beat her in a horrifying three-day ordeal has said she wants to channel her experience into helping others
Pictured: Danielle Thomas with ex-boyfriend Reece Thompson who was jailed for his abusive and violent behaviour towards the mother-of-two at Nottingham Crown Court in April 2019
He was jailed for 40 months after he pleaded guilty to damaging property, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and inflicting grievous bodily harm when he appeared at Nottingham Crown Court in April 2019.
Thompson, who was living in Bircotes at the time of his arrest, was also handed a 10-year restraining order.
He was released in January 2020 but recalled to jail the following month after posting a number of inappropriate tweets in relation to his conviction and because he spoke about the case to a national news website.
Three years on from the awful abuse, Danielle is helping other survivors as a volunteer at a local women’s centre despite her own ongoing struggle with complex PTSD and personality disorder.
Danielle, mother to Lielarni, 15, and Ella, 11, is also looking to set up a campsite in South Yorkshire for families that have been through domestic abuse.
She said: ‘I was in a relationship with who I thought was a great guy.
Injuries suffered by Danielle Thomas at the hands of Reece Thompson during the ordeal
Thompson also rubbed glass into Danielle’s back leaving her with several cuts and grazes
‘Unfortunately not long into the relationship, violence and control started. To begin with he would check my phone and started discouraging me from going out to see friends and taking part in my hobbies.
‘I used to do pole fitness and initially he would compliment me by saying things like I must have good upper body strength.
‘It went from that to him saying all the women who do pole fitness were slags.
‘Then one night, out of nowhere, I was sleeping and was woken up by him being on top of me, punching me and pulling my hair.
‘He had been going through my phone and looking at old Facebook messages. He found a very old innocent message from another guy and this sparked his violent outburst.’
Danielle said that the violence and control continued most weeks after that point.
She said: ‘I wanted to end the relationship but every time I tried it resulted in violence and I was told I could never leave or escape him. I felt trapped.
‘My spirit was broken and I didn’t know what to do.
Reece Thompson (left) was jailed for 40 months but release after only nine before being sent back to prison after making jokes about his behaviour towards Danielle (right) on Twitter
‘I believed this must have somehow been my fault and thought that this was now my life. I didn’t think the police would take me seriously and I had no idea where to turn.’
Danielle said that on the night of September 12, 2018, things took a very bad turn for the worse.
She said: ‘He decided I needed to be taught a lesson. He locked me in my home for three days and tortured me.
‘He repeatedly beat me, tipped paint all over me and made me lick it off the floor.
‘He smashed mirrors over my head, rubbed glass into me and brutally beat me with an iron bar
‘I was left with a broken jaw, broken ribs and extreme bruising. He even made my daughter Ella watch on the first night – it traumatised her.’
Danielle said concerns were raised by her children’s father and a social worker visited the house.
They recognised she was in danger and took her to a safe house where she was able to escape her abuser and get help.
Danielle wants to help fund a campsite in Yorkshire (pictured) for victims of domestic abuse
Thompson was arrested and eventually sentenced.
Danielle said: ‘I only wanted what you might class as an ideal family unit. That was very violently taken away from me.
‘The thing is that Reece’s behaviour was never down to drink or a drug – he was just always very controlling.
‘The whole experience was and has been very traumatic for me. I now struggle with complex PTSD and personality disorder.
‘Having been through this experience, I don’t wish for any other woman to suffer in silence or be subject to any form of domestic violence.
‘I know how isolating, lonely, embarrassing and frightening it can feel.
‘Contact your local council who have a domestic abuse service or go to Women’s Aid.
‘Having received some amazing support and therapy, myself and my two daughters are very passionate about somehow making a difference to others affected by domestic violence.’
Danielle is fundraising for a project called The Dragonfly and Humming Bird which is a free campsite in South Yorkshire that offers a safe, relaxing, educational environment for domestic abuse survivors and their families.
The site would accommodate five families per weekend and will run for 13 weeks from June to September, beginning in 2020.
You can help support the project or find out more information by clicking here.