Family tells of heartache as they reveal how Sunderland woman Kay Martin had a caring and loving nature
The family and friends of a woman killed by her abusive husband in a sustained attack have opened up as the details of her last days were revealed.
Kay Martin, 43, was found dead at the home she had shared with Alan Martin last September after reports of concern were made to police.
Police recorded a history of domestic abuse against her by the 53-year-old bricklayer, who was found hanging inside the house in Shrewsbury Crescent, Humbleton, Sunderland.
An inquest into her death, which was asked to refer to her by her maiden name of Richardson, found she had been unlawfully killed after sustaining head wounds caused by repeated blows and then strangled with an electrical cord.
As the hearing at Sunderland Civic Centre opened, Kay's mother Audrey read out an emotional and impassioned tribute to her daughter and how she had loved animals, showing her caring side as a youngster as she rescued birds and kittens.
But it also gave an insight into their upset at how she became a victim of abuse, backed up by their friends who said she had never found the happiness she deserved
She said: "To her many friends she was a joy to be with, always leaving a part of herself with everyone she met and her loyalty unflinching.
"In Kay's work, people weren't just a number, they were a person and she treated them with respect.
"Kay had her dreams and inspirations, she should have years ahead of her to achieve her goals, but her life was brutalty cut short.
"Kay was always on the side of the vulnerable, needy and the underdog, wanting to make a difference and little did we realise she was the most vulnerable fo all, which she hid too well with her beautiful smile."
The mum-of-six added: "Kay was taken away from us in the most brutal, cruel and cowardly way, which has left her family and many friends devastated.
"The chain has been broken, Kay will always be the missing link."
In another statement read on behalf of a friend, Kay was an "amazing woman" who was loyal and strong, with her loss leaving a "huge hole which can never be filled."