My partner's murder changed me forever
THE PARTNERTHE man who was set to share his life and build a family with Karen Hales has told how her murder changed him forever.Peter Ruffles was aged just 21 when he left Karen and Emily at home on that fateful November afternoon in 1993 – the last time he would ever see his bride-to-be alive.
THE man who was set to share his life and build a family with Karen Hales has told how her murder changed him forever.
Peter Ruffles was aged just 21 when he left Karen and Emily at home on that fateful November afternoon in 1993 – the last time he would ever see his bride-to-be alive.
In the space of a few short minutes his life was cruelly ripped apart, a tragedy it would take him years to recover from.
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"I feel like that was a different life and I was a different person," said Mr Ruffles, who still lives in the Ipswich area. "I think it's changed me. Obviously, I'm older and wiser now, but I'm definitely more careful.
"For example, I always check that doors are locked and things like that and I'm also a lot more wary of people. I really don't trust many people now – it's sad that should happen, but I think what took place has hardened me."
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After fighting for years to pick up the pieces of his life and care for Emily, Mr Ruffles married three years ago.
"It took me three or four years before I could get my life back on track and get back to normality," he added. "When it comes to this time of year it does all come back to me, but I try not to think about it because it gets me down and affects me.
"If I don't put it behind me, I would never be able to get on with my life – it's sad to say, but it just seems like such a long time ago and I've got to try to get on with things."
But, as hard as that may be, Mr Ruffles still has a constant reminder of his life with Miss Hales every time he looks at Emily, now 11 years old, whom he said had inherited a lot of her mother's traits.
"With Emily I've got someone else to share things with. I see a lot of Karen in her – she's definitely got her looks and characteristics in the way that she acts," he said.
"Obviously, she might have been the only one who actually saw what happened to Karen, but I think, in a good way, she can't remember.
"She knows the basics of what happened to Karen and now and again she will say and ask things, but it's so hard to explain something like that."
With 10 years now past since Miss Hales was so brutally killed, Mr Ruffles said his hopes of seeing the murderer brought to justice were fading.
"I haven't heard anything from the police for a long time now. With every year that passes it seems less and less likely that the killer will be caught," he added.
"There's so many questions that are unanswered and that's hard to deal with. We don't even have a motive as yet – it could have been a burglary gone wrong or anything, we just don't know.
"Of course, I still want to see the person that killed Karen caught and brought to justice. If there is someone out there with information about it that they haven't come forward with, then they are just as bad as the person who killed Karen – I don't know how they can live with that."