Mom forced to leap from top floor after her husband torched her home
What would you be prepared to do to save your own life in the event of a brush with death? Some people able to suddenly perform feats of bravery that they never would have thought themselves capable of in a crisis. One such person is Nadine Crabtree, who narrowly escaped death after her abusive husband torched the house that she and her children were sleeping in, forcing her to leap out of a top floor window and fall to safety to escape the flames.
Nadine, now aged 51, had been married to Tony Wall for only a short time - leaving him because of his controlling and gaslighting behaviour. The couple had originally met on a bus where they struck up a friendship, but when Wall's then-wife died and left him a widower, things turned romantic.
In January 2015 Wall asked her out, and their date blossomed into a committed relationship. They married in July, but Nadine soon learned that Wall was a terrible spouse with a hair-trigger temper, who would explode into rages at the slightest provocation, and was even physically violent. Four months after getting married to him, Nadine had thrown him out of the house, and she thought it was all over. She was wrong.
Two years later Wall returned to Nadine's house and threatened to kill her. In the early hours of April 1, 2017 Nadine's son Jake arrived home around 4am, and smelled a burning smell. Jake woke up his mother and sisters, and Nadine's daughters managed to escape from a downstairs window. Nadine however, was stuck in her room while the house burned, which forced her to jump leap out of a window to safety.
Describing the incident, she stated: "All I could see was thick, black smoke. It felt like everything had slowed down, I was in too much of a daze to panic. It was more amazement. Like, I couldn’t believe this was really happening ... I grabbed some towels and forced my first-floor bedroom window open. Jake and the girls had already got out and ran around the back of the house. I knew I had to jump, but I daren’t."
"I was terrified. Then, Jake screamed at me, ‘Jump Mum, or you’re going to die.’ I leapt out of the window and he somehow managed to catch me. He was so incredibly brave that night. It was only once I was out that the panic set in. I felt like I could barely breathe."
She added, "He seemed so lovely. He was the type of guy to talk to anyone and everyone. I wish I’d realised earlier what he was truly like, and what a nasty, cruel man he is. I’m still traumatised by the fire. I’ve got no idea what he’s thinking, or if he’s still angry. I’m terrified he’s going to come back and try to kill me again."
"He threatened to kill me. I was absolutely terrified. I phoned the police, but there wasn’t a great deal they could do. I started hearing he’d said the same thing to my friends, too. My family and I were scared stiff of him. I’d had no idea. I thought it had just been an awful accident. I’m still in shock that he would do that. I knew he was angry at me, but to target my children as well, while we were all asleep, is horrendous. He could have killed us.”
As a result of the injuries she sustained, Nadine was rushed to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, where she was placed in a week-long induced coma, due to the smoke damage to her lungs. Wall pleaded guilty to arson (it turned out that he had set fire to Jake's motorcycle) and was charged with attempted murder and jailed for eight years. But Nadine will never forget the terror she experienced that night.