[Wife] My emotions were running high. My hands shook uncontrollably as a gripped the bottles of petrol and caustic soda. I took a deep breath. I wanted to hurt him, like he had hurt me. I wanted him to feel the pain I endured every single day from his physical actions, his abuse and even his presence. I was at breaking point. Creeping up the stairs to where Deepak was sleeping, I felt powerful. The past months of my marriage with him I was constantly low, sad, and depressed. This was my way of fighting back because I suddenly felt capable. Standing in our bedroom, watching him sleep, it felt strange. It felt strange being in the same room as him and not feeling scared or powerless for a few seconds. I knew this was only because he was sleeping; he wasn’t the slightest bit aware. I unscrewed the lid of the Napalm mixture I had made and didn’t think twice before I began pouring the liquid over him. It was relieving. The touch of the liquid on his body woke him and it rushed me into fumbling with the lighter before he could grab me and hurt me more. Like a firework, his body burst into tiny flames, spreading to the sheets and covers on the bed. The flames became a protective barrier between my abuser and I.
[Husband] Whilst I was sleeping, my meek and mild wife was planning something I never thought she was capable of doing. She went into the outside garage and got some petrol and caustic soda mixture and mixed it together to create Napalm. It was her gift to me. Her way of saying ‘thank you but I hate you.’ In my sleep, she poured the mixture over my body and set me alight. My body burned and my skin melted, the pain was unbearable, death could not come quick enough. I do not know how long Kiranjit was planning this act, but I did not deserve it, surely? I was a good husband, I worked hard to earn the money for our house and child — and this is how she repays me! I was a man who had to put a woman like that in her place. How could she do this to me after all I done for her?
[Husband] Our marriage was a quick process, around 2 to 3 months of discussion and planning between both families. We had only met once but I knew I would remember her because of her big brown eyes and sweet, quiet voice. Kiranjit moved from her home in Chakkalal in Punjab and we moved into our home in Southall, United Kingdom, which was nearer to my family. The first months were amazing, I never thought I could be this happy; my wife was wonderful. When I was at work, I looked forward to coming home to be with her and I couldn’t get the thought of her off my mind. I couldn’t bear to be away from her and luckily she felt the same way about me. Later that year, we were blessed with the news that we were expecting our first baby. At this point, I didn’t think that our marriage or my life could get better.
[Wife] Marriage was an important thing in my family. When I met Deepak, I was very shy. I wasn’t used to being around men, let alone the man I was going to marry. Once we were married, I was my happiest. It was my one dream in life to be happy. When we were expecting our first child, a son, it created a closer bond between Deepak and I. We were happy.
[Husband] After the decision we made for me to take some time off work to be with Kiranjit and our child, it led to several arguments. We were not used to spending “all day” with each other. She was used to being at home taking care of the house and our son, as was the traditional role. I felt my place in the house was unimportant as she concentrated all her attention and feelings towards my son. I was just left on the sidelines, looking in. My feelings became strange; I didn’t like the thought of Kiranjit being out of my sight all of a sudden, but at the same time, all the time we spent together led to bickering and arguments and eventually we could not stand the sight of one another. We could never seem to agree on anything. I would leave the house to get some air because I needed space, time to think and time to get away from the irritable atmosphere. Although I hated being away from Kiranjit, I knew she would always be at home. I knew she would never leave me. I knew she loved me so she would do whatever I say; that’s how she shows me she loves me.
[Wife] Family life soon became all too much for us. Spending 24 hours a day with each other led Deepak to become agitated. He constantly questioned my love for him. He made me feel as though I wasn’t doing enough. I felt like I was doing enough — the housework, the childcare. I was too tired by the evening to even cook dinner I was that exhausted. But I wanted Deepak to be happy, so I tried harder to show my love for him and do more around the house. Still, Deepak would often leave the house after an argument, no matter how bad it was and the driveway would be empty. I was unaware of his whereabouts when he’d storm out the house, and I would worry.
[Husband] Over time, I found myself turning up at another woman’s house even when Kiranjit and I had not argued. I just liked the separate and secret meetings we would have, the relaxed atmosphere and attention I received. In the beginning, things were not physical; we would simply talk to each other about our lives now compared to all the fun we had before. On one occasion, as cliché as it sounds, one thing led to another and she was on top of me, removing her blouse to reveal her soft, tanned skin. Throughout the time that I spent with this woman, Kiranjit never crossed my mind. My mind was elsewhere. In my mind, I liked the control I had. I was able to know where my wife was, at home looking after our son, and I could have my own separate life, doing as I wish, choosing my own ways to make me happy.
[Wife] One day I found his phone unlocked on the side. I was tempted to look at what was on there, because he was so secretive. There was a text from an unsaved number. It read ‘can’t wait 2 C U again babe xx’. That was when my heart dropped and stomach fell. I had questions. I didn’t quite understand how this man, who vowed at the altar to love me and care for me, could violate and sin against the promises made within marriage. I confronted him when he arrived home, but from his reaction, I instantly regretted bringing the subject up. He was full of anger when he shouted at me, I just wanted to undo what I’d said.
[Husband] When Kiranjit confronted me, it triggered an inner rage throughout my body and I grabbed her long black locks of hair that tangled around my fingers and pulled hard. How dare she go through my phone? But this wasn’t the first time. She repeatedly rang me at work because wanted to speak about the other woman. It’s none of her business. How dare she try and involve herself. How dare she think she can confront me like that at home and then pester me at work? The more I thought about it, the more it made my blood boil. Through gritted teeth, I grabbed the iron and held it near her face to scare her. In my mind I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to do with the iron but I felt capable to want to hurt her. I had the strength and power to weaken her resolve to question me.
[Wife] When Deepak used his own hands to hurt me, I became weak. I didn’t have the power inside me to fight back; he was bigger and stronger than me. I would scream out in pain and beg him to stop, but I was silenced by his deep voice telling me to ‘shut up’ through his gritted teeth and bad breath. From then on I was paranoid and scared as to when he would next hurt me or grab me. So I knew I wanted to hurt him in the same way he had hurt me. I wanted him to feel my pain and suffer what I had to suffer. But I didn't have strength like he did. I didn't think I had the evilness inside of me. I soon realised how much I needed to get revenge.