Every third day, in our #EveryThreeDays campaign, I write about a woman killed by a man.
I have to say doing so today is a struggle.
In part because, as I mentioned just three days ago, researching all the hundreds of cases of women killed by men becomes deeply distressing. But also because just a few hours ago, I experienced a ‘pile-on’ by online transphobic bullies.
Trans people like me are targets of people we know as “terfs” or “gender-crits”- and they are often very unpleasant.
In reality, much of me wants to write about the incident which caused an online LGBT+ poll of mine to be high jacked by transphobic cis people and for me to be attacked personally. That is for another day.
Unlike transphobic people – trans folk have morals and decency, so today, we remember a woman killed by a man.
Previously in this month, we have remembered Suzanne Pilley, Raheela Shariff, Louise Smith, Claire Parry, Natalie Hemming, Jessica Patel, Melissa Belshaw and on the 23rd of May -Joanne Hamer.
Reporting Joanne’s murder was particularly difficult because she was a beautiful ‘all accepting’ lady who loved – and was loved by everyone. The exact opposite of those ‘people’ – I encountered a few hours ago.
Today we remember Sophie.
Sophie was a go-ahead woman who tried to live her life in full. At the age of 18, she met and became best friends with Stacey Lyons, and they went into business together. Sophie then met Martin Cavanagh, and they married in September 2011 when Sophie was 24.
Sadly though, Sophie’s husband (like so many men) then started to control her and became very possessive, and by December 2016, Sophie decided to separate from her husband.
Martin Cavanagh, though, had other ideas, and he lulled Sophie back into an “off-on” relationship that involved going out together from time to time. Sophie, though, wanted to move on, but her husband had other ideas and one way or another, he always found out about her new friends and, to quote a witness, “made her life hell.”
He then went as far as to try and bribe his wife for sex by offering £100 and, in a text to her, said, “I want to have you one last final time.”
They met on the evening 19th of May 2018 at Sophie’s flat, and in a resulting argument, Martin Cavanagh strangled Sophie – he then wrote on a child’s whiteboard the message “she deserved it.”
Cavanagh then ‘went on the run’ but gave himself up a few days later – almost exactly three years ago today.
At his trial at the Old Bailey, Cavanagh defended his actions, saying he acted in self-defence. The jury was having none of it, though, and he was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 16 years. Martin Cavanagh, though, may well spend a good chunk of his life in society. A man who was described as having a “short fuse and would get angry quickly.”
The shock of Sophie’s murder was devasting, so perhaps the last words should be given to her best friend Stacey, saying this shortly after Sophie’s naked body was found.
“I am struggling to accept that just last week Sophie was around my house cuddling my three-week-old daughter while her daughter was raiding the sweet cupboard.
My son was showing Sophie his latest gymnastics moves on the sofa, and her son was trying to take me on in a boxing match, and now I can’t even text her. It was always chaos when we got together, but now I miss it more than ever.
We borrowed each other’s clothes, shared birth stories and held each other’s hand when we finally plucked up the courage to take the kids out for the day.”
Sophie – yes, left behind two young babies.
She was a mum.
Sophie Cavanagh 1987 – 2018
Authored by Steph @PlaceSteph