IT had been 20 years since Stacy Brooks had spoken to her dad, but after a devastating break-up she felt she had nowhere else to turn.
The mum-of-four, 31, from Pitsmoor, Sheffield had never had a relationship with Mark Brooks, 61, and was thrilled when he welcomed her back into his life with open arms.
But things soon took a sinister turn, when Brooks became “obsessed and jealous” of her new boyfriend.
After a row on the phone on August 9th last year, Brooks stormed round to where Stacy was staying and launched a savage attack.
After beating her up, Brooks covered her in petrol and tried to set her alight.
Stacy's life was only saved when the lighter didn't work properly and Brooks fled the scene.
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Terrified, she called the police and Brooks was arrested later that day.
He told police he had taken twice the dosage of diazepam which had made him feel like “King Kong”, and had been looking for his daughter’s boyfriend and wanted her to come home.
In December 2021, Brooks pleaded guilty to attempting to cause grievous bodily harm to his daughter and threatening to kill her at Sheffield Crown Court.
He was sentenced to nine years and six months in prison in August, and handed an indefinite restraining order to protect Stacy.
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Stacy, who has been left traumatised by the harrowing ordeal, said: “He was an awful dad and played almost zero part in my life.
“I never really even thought about him until I was left with nowhere to go after a break-up and a family member suggested I could reconnect with him.
“'I thought 'why not?' I'd always craved having a father figure in my life deep down.
“At first living with him was really lovely. We got on so well and I couldn't believe how good things were.
I'm just so glad that lighter didn't work, I'd have been up in flames in seconds. He kept trying it though, he was desperate to hurt me. He'd probably have killed me
“But he soon became really weird with me, almost a bit obsessed with me, and hated my having a new boyfriend.
“But I'd never have thought he would go as far as he did that day.”
She added: “I'm just so glad that lighter didn't work, I'd have been up in flames in seconds.
“He kept trying it though, he was desperate to hurt me. He'd probably have killed me.
“I get why my mum told me to steer well clear of him now.”
Stacy and her dad were estranged for two decades before reconnecting, and became close again when he allowed her to live with him.
She told how they would go out for meals, dog walks and enjoy movie nights together.
This was until Stacy – who is currently unemployed – found love with a new partner.
She claims her dad became “jealous” and “obsessive” over her – even “begging” her not to move in with her new bloke.
She went against his wishes, moving out and in with her partner, but desperately tried to stay in touch with her dad as she became increasingly worried about his lifestyle.
But Stacy became frustrated when he would only get in touch to “ask for money”, and when she confronted Brooks about this during a phone call he became angry.
She claims he turned up at the house she was living in – just minutes away from his own flat – and doused her with a flammable liquid.
I knew what it was right away, it smelled like lighter fluid or petrol. I was so scared I just froze
After squirting what she believes to be petrol all over her face, clothes and body, he tried to set her alight.
Stacy recalled: “He'd burst into where I was living, ranting and raving.
“He looked really scary and was making loads of threats to kill me, calling me a 'f*****g bitch' and saying I was 'dead'.
“It was horrible to see and hear him like that.
“He began getting his hands on me and smashed my head into a door, pulling me around the room by my hair.
“Before I knew it he had grabbed a bottle from his coat pocket and was squeezing this liquid all over me.
“I knew what it was right away, it smelled like lighter fluid or petrol. I was so scared I just froze.
“He tried twice to set me up in flames but his lighter wouldn't work and when my housemates saw what was going on he ran off, thank God.”
During sentencing Mark's solicitor told the court that his daughter had come back into his life at the beginning of 2021.
They said Brooks had been concerned after Stacy became involved with a new boyfriend who had a history of domestic violence and an involvement with drug-dealing.
Despite being happy with his sentence at Sheffield Crown Court, Stacy has been left emotionally scarred.
She said: “He was never a good dad, he was never there, but I wanted to give him a second chance.
“How could he do this to his own flesh and blood? I'm a mum myself, I could never hurt my own kids.
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“It's affected me loads, I'm always anxious now. If I smell petrol I get really freaked out, it sends me into a panic.
“I'm just glad he's finally got some justice – he deserves everything he gets.”
How you can get help
Women’s Aid has this advice for victims and their families:
- Always keep your phone nearby.
- Get in touch with charities for help, including the Women’s Aid live chat helpline and services such as SupportLine.
- If you are in danger, call 999.
- Familiarise yourself with the Silent Solution, reporting abuse without speaking down the phone, instead dialing “55”.
- Always keep some money on you, including change for a pay phone or bus fare.
- If you suspect your partner is about to attack you, try to go to a lower-risk area of the house – for example, where there is a way out and access to a telephone.
- Avoid the kitchen and garage, where there are likely to be knives or other weapons. Avoid rooms where you might become trapped, such as the bathroom, or where you might be shut into a cupboard or other small space.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, SupportLine is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm to 8pm on 01708 765200. The charity’s email support service is open weekdays and weekends during the crisis – [email protected]
Women’s Aid provides a live chat service – available weekdays from 8am-6pm and weekends 10am-6pm.
You can also call the freephone 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.
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