Content warning: This post deals with suicide and domestic violence, and may be triggering for some readers.
In March 2016, 18-year-old Emily Drouet died by suicide after suffering months of abuse at the hands of her boyfriend, Angus Milligan.
Now a photo has emerged of Drouet and Milligan together on her 18th birthday – just weeks before her death.
The photo, taken at an Aberdeen nightclub in Scotland, shows the 18-year-old law student in the arms of her tormentor.
In the months leading up to the photo – and the weeks that followed – Milligan regularly slapped, choked, bullied and tormented his girlfriend.
Drouet’s mum, Fiona, told the The Mirror the photo makes her feel “ill”.
“It tears me apart when I see it. He looks like a monster and Emily doesn’t even look like herself. I hate it, but I think it shows him for what he is.”
Drouet, 45, said her daughter had been “so happy” when she was getting ready for the party they had organised for her, taking photos while she was getting her makeup done and sending them to her mum.
“Knowing what we do now about what he had been doing to her, it makes me sick.”
Last week, Milligan was sentenced to just 180 hours of community service and a year’s supervision order after he admitted to the ongoing verbal and physical abuse.
In a cruel twist of fate, Drouet’s parents had to sit in the courtroom as Milligan’s lawyers tried to argue that his abuse was a result of Emily being unfaithful to him.
“It was the lowest of blows,” Drouet’s mother told the The Mirror. “Emily was the victim of sustained abuse and bullying by Angus Milligan when she was alive and it feels like he has been allowed to bully her all over again in death. It’s sickening.
“My daughter is the victim, not him. And by getting his lawyers to claim that Emily was responsible in some way for his abuse is beyond what we could have imagined."
Drouet says the lawyers could only get away with making such horrible accusations because Emily could not be there to defend herself.
“Has he not done enough? My daughter is dead and he wants to continue to try to blame her for his violent and controlling behaviour.”
The Drouet family is now working with the Crown Office to launch a Fatal Accident Inquiry into Emily's death.
After their daughter passed away last year, the family learnt she had been hiding the abuse from them. Welfare officers at Aberdeen University had become aware of the abuse when Emily had visited them, but reportedly they did not pass the information onto her parents.
The Drouets then discovered Milligan was still living in the halls where he abused Emily.
"I can’t describe what this has been like. I will never be able to see or speak to my daughter again to tell her what she was going through was wrong and make things better."
Fiona Drouet is now working with Women's Aid, speaking to students around Scotland about Emily's experience.
“I can’t even describe the physical pain of now knowing how unhappy and desperate she was in the last few months of her life," she says. "But we had 18 years of happiness with her and we’re trying to remember that.”
If you or a loved one is suffering at the hands of a partner, Mamamia urges you to contact 1800 RESPECT.
If you are struggling with mental health, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit this website.
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