It’s safe to say we’ve all had our fair share of terrible exes, but none can compare to Delia Balmer’s ex— serial killer John Sweeney. Here, Delia recounts the horrific moment she realized her boyfriend was a murderer, and how he attacked her with a wooden axe, leaving her to die. Somehow, Delia survived and has written a book about the terror she lived through. Here she spoke to the Mirror UK about the months leading up to that horrifying incident, and how she came to learn about her ex’s dark past.
Relationship. When Delia Balmer first met John Sweeney, she never expected that their relationship would end with her beaten to a pulp and stabbed nearly to death. Unfortunately, that ended up being the outcome for Balmer.
Traumatized. Since the incident, Balmer has written a book about her experience titled “Living With A Serial Killer.” Despite it having been years since Balmer nearly died, she says she has never fully recovered both physically and mentally, and at times, wishes she had actually died that day.
Death. “As far as I’m concerned, I have died. This is not me. This is something else. John Sweeney killed Delia on the concrete steps,” Balmer told the Mirror UK.
Relationship. It all started when Balmer and Sweeney met at a bar in 1991. Balmer was attracted to him because he seemed smart and they shared a love for traveling. But unfortunately, that side of Sweeney didn’t stick around for long. Over the course of their relationship, Sweeney would manipulate and emotionally and physically abuse Balmer.
Serial killer. “When I look back on my relationship with John now, it’s the sort of thing you read about in a novel or watch in a movie, it doesn’t happen for real. But it did, it happened to me. He was a psychopath, and I lived for three years with a serial killer. I was living in a psychological thriller – and it was all true,” said Balmer, as reported by the Mirror UK.
Arrest. Sweeney constantly threatened Balmer, but the threats soon turned to a reality. At one point, the attacks turned physical. Sweeney was arrested after a dentist noticed injuries in Balmer’s mouth, and she confessed to the abuse.
Hostage. Unfortunately, Sweeney was released on bail— and he came after Balmer. He held her hostage for several days by tying her to a bed and raping her, beating her, and telling her about the previous murders he’d committed.
On edge. “I thought: ‘He will do something. He will cut me to bits. Just like he had Melissa.’ The moment I discovered he was out, I was on edge. I knew he would be coming for me,” said Balmer, as reported by the Mirror UK.
Murder. Balmer says she discovered a bag under Sweeney’s bed that contained materials to murder her. She wasn’t wrong. In 1994, Sweeney tried to murder Balmer by attacking her with a wooden axe and a knife right in front of her home.
Attack. Sweeney punctured one of Balmer’s lungs, cut off one of her fingers and left her to bleed out. Somehow she survived, but to this day she continues to suffer physical pain in her chest from the attack.
Pain. “On the doorstep, I saw this finger fly through the air, and I thought: ‘That’s it. I don’t want to live anymore. I don’t want to live in this anger and pain.’ So I wasn’t happy when I woke up in an intensive care unit. I thought: ‘Oh no, I am alive. Now what hell?’” Balmer told the Mirror UK.
Not afraid. Shockingly, Sweeney wasn’t caught right away, and he was on the run for the next six years after Balmer’s attack. During that time, he even murdered another woman, 31-year-old Paula Fields. But even with her psychotic ex on the run, Balmer says she never once felt afraid.
No fear. “Everybody said to me: ‘Oh, I would constantly be looking behind my back if I were you.’ And I said: ‘I don’t care, it’s too late. I am not scared anymore because I am not me anymore. I was scared, and I was terrified when I was whole. But after the attack it was too late, I didn’t care and I wanted to die anyway. I didn’t want to live in this body that’s all messed up,” said Balmer, as reported by the Mirror UK.
No justice. Eventually, Sweeney was caught and sentenced to multiple life sentences for the murders he committed, and for the attempted murder of Balmer. Despite his prison sentence, Balmer still feels like justice was never served because of the physical and emotional damage she will suffer for the rest of her life.
Trapped. “I still don’t trust this body, and what might go wrong with it. It is still a stranger to me. I am trapped in this prison with no chance of appeal. He might be in prison, but for me no justice has been served,” said Balmer, as reported by the Mirror UK.