My heart breaks for Sarah Everard’s dignified mum – my child was murdered too…it’s an unimaginable grief

WHEN people say they know how Susan Everard feels, I really do – although I wish I didn’t. Because I too have suffered the unimaginable grief of losing a child.

In March, she lost her beloved daughter Sarah, 33, at the hands of 48-year-old policeman Wayne Couzens, who was last week given a whole-life sentence.

When people ask me how many children I have, I always say: “Four — the triplets, Chloe, Carly and Sebastian and my eldest, Breck.”

Then sometimes I think about adding: “Breck’s a pilot for British Airways — he’s flying the skies.”

It was his dream and one I believe he would have achieved, but the truth is Breck isn’t here any more and I don’t want to lie — even if revealing what happened can make people uncomfortable.

Because Breck was murdered aged just 14.

I read the victim impact statement Susan gave the court, after sitting through the gruelling details of her daughter’s final moments.

“We have kept her dressing gown — it still smells of her and I hug that instead of her,” she said.

I am so, so sorry for Susan’s loss — I know how that feels.

I still remember the agony of finding out Breck had died. I was working in Spain for the weekend, teaching English to masters students, when Breck’s dad Barry, 57, who I’ve divorced, called to tell me he’d gone to visit a friend the previous day and not come home.

I was ringing around his mates trying to track him down, when his dad called again and said he was dead and the police had been to the house.


I screamed and fell to the floor. Sedated, I was flown from Spain to my home in Caterham, where I learnt my son’s killer, Lewis Daynes, 18, had lured Breck to his house for a meeting — then stabbed him to death.

Police had discovered the crime after Daynes posted photos of my son’s body to an online gaming group.

On November 25, 2014, Daynes admitted murder at Chelmsford Crown Court and was jailed for 25 years. But it was little comfort, my life had been changed forever, and everything was either Before Breck Died or After Breck Died.

I’m sure Susan will have experienced this too. She should lean on the kind people who are there for her and know that in time, while she will still feel the grief, it will become less raw.

It’s been seven-and-a-half years since Breck died and still I feel his absence constantly — I’m not the same woman that I was and there isn’t a day that goes by that I am not hurt by the loss of my boy.

I remember what it was like at the beginning, what Susan is experiencing now. Diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, for over a year I wore only black or dark grey bought haphazardly in charity shops.

I didn’t trust myself to drive and crossing the street seemed impossible. I was off work and I couldn’t go back to school as a teaching assistant, a job I loved.

But mainly, despite having three other children — now 19 and in university, but only 12 at the time and also grieving — I just stayed in bed.

I’m not the same woman that I was and there isn’t a day that goes by that I am not hurt by the loss of my boy.

I was there for them — if they needed me I would be present — but I was in an all-engulfing cloud of grief. It is not the natural order of things for a child to die before their parent, and the way Breck died was incredibly violent and horrible. I felt guilty for not protecting him.

I had nurtured and treasured him since he was tiny. I had given him life and in that respect a mother’s grief is terribly unique.

Since those early days, I’ve pretended to be happy, but there is a lingering sadness that follows me round like a shadow. Despite finding love with my second husband David, 62, who I married recently and have told all about Breck, I remain very lonely.

Every day I am hit with fresh reminders that Breck isn’t here.

The other day when I was taking the last triplet to university and I was making her tidy her room before she left I heard her mumble, “I’ll be glad to go.”

I said, “Great, I don’t mind where you are — just don’t die.”

It was so ridiculous we ended up laughing. Susan will realise, in time, she will laugh again. I have lost friends because of what happened.

One “friend” once confessed to me she couldn’t cope with me after Breck died as I didn’t shop or drink wine any more. What did she expect?

Others moan about mundane things and I can’t handle it. “My son was murdered at 14,” I want to yell at them. “Stop complaining.”

A stranger once told me to compare grief to a jagged stone in your stomach that is always there, but over the years gets a bit smoother.

I hope parents hold their children a little tighter tonight and have a bit more patience with them.

I’ve set up the Breck Foundation because there were so many lessons to be learnt from Breck’s story. He was groomed online by his killer, and if more people had the knowledge that the Breck Foundation teaches about grooming and digital resilience, I think that he would still be here.

My heart goes out to Susan and other parents who have lost their children in similar circumstances. I know the never-ending road you have to travel will be very difficult. There is nothing worse.

I hope parents hold their children a little tighter tonight, have a bit more patience with them — and realise what a miracle it is to not only have children but to keep them safe forever.

With the love and support of my triplets and husband, I have everything that a girl can want, but there is forever a hole in my heart where Breck will always be.

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