My Husband Murdered Our Daughter Aged Four But I Still Got To See Her Grow Up
Little Lindsay Powell was just four years old when she was brutally murdered by her own father.
The child was beaten to death with a hammer in a vicious attack which also left her brother brain damaged and her mother unconscious with her skull caved in.
Mum Kathy Brant was robbed of the chance to see her little girl grow up – but, thanks to digital technology, she is able to see Lindsey as a young woman 18 years on.
Kathy, from Illinois, USA, has had a photograph of Lindsay age-progressed to give her the face she should have had at 22.
"She is absolutely beautiful," Kathy said. "Every time I look at her, I feel full of hope."
It is something the 41-year-old never thought she would feel again.
PA Real Life Features.Beautiful young woman: Lindsey as she may have looked at 22
She was a happily married mother-of-four when her life was turned upside down.
Her husband, Joseph Bradley Powell, or Brad as he was known to his friends, had been her childhood sweetheart.
"We lived next door to each other and he told me we’d live happily ever after," Kathy said. "Then when I was 5, his family moved away."
Over the years, she forgot all about the little boy with the big dreams, until a chance meeting in a bar when Kathy was 18.
Determined to make up for lost time, the couple married.
Shortly after, Kathy gave birth to Lindsay followed by sons, Joey, Anthony and Brandon who was just a few months old when the attack took place.
"It was just after Valentines," said Kathy. "Brad had bought me a rose and I will still as in love with him as ever. He’d promised me we’d live happily ever after, and as far as I was concerned that dream had come true."
PA Real Life Features.Innocents: Lindsey with brothers Joey, Anthony and Brandon
On 21 February 1997, Brad’s half-brother, Eric, then 19, visited.
"Eric didn’t have much luck in love so he stayed with us often," said Kathy. "The kids were in bed and we were enjoying a glass of wine when Eric offered to re-fill my glass. The next thing I remember is being hit and then everything went black."
In fact, Kathy stayed conscious enough to scream as Eric hit her over the head 12 times with a hammer, then a dumbbell, before stabbing her in the neck.
Police thought the noise must have disturbed Lindsay and Joey, who got up to see what was happening.
"Apparently, when they refused to go back to bed, Brad flipped and attacked them with the hammer," Kathy recalls. "My mum told me Lindsay had died when I woke in the hospital. Joey survived but with brain injuries."
Kathy discovered that her loving husband was far from that.
PA Real Life Features.Murderer: Dad Joseph Bradley “Brad” Powell
"Brad planned it all but was too afraid to kill me himself. He got Eric to do it. When they tried to get away they crashed their car and the registration plate led officers to our address. What they found was carnage. Lindsay was already gone. Poor Joey was clinging to life and I was unconscious, my skull caved in.
"Days later, I held Lindsay’s funeral, lost in grief. I was haunted by one question – why? It didn’t make any sense. Why would Brad want to hurt me and the kids?
"Focusing all my energies on Joey, I nursed him until he was allowed home a month later. He had a titanium plate fitted into his head. He suffered seizures and brain damage. I promised him we’d get through it.’
It was a year before it came to court.
"Police said they’d found love letters from Brad to another woman," Kathy said. "Rather than leaving me, he’d wanted me dead. I wanted to scream, but why hurt Lindsay?"
PA Real Life Features.Attacker: Brad”s brother Eric hit Kathy over the head with a hammer
On 13 February 1998, Joseph Bradley Powell, 25, was found guilty of two counts of attempted murder and one of murder.
He was sentenced to 54 years in prison.
Eric Sutton was jailed for 47 years on the same charges.
Kathy was finally granted a divorce soon after and had Brad’s parental rights revoked.
But despite getting justice, Kathy could not lay the past to rest.
"I tortured myself with every detail. I kept thinking it should be me not Lindsay who was dead," she said. "Looking after Joey was very hard and eventually I had a nervous breakdown."
PA Real Life Features.Rebuilding their lives: Kathy with her sons
A friend offered to help and now Kathy has a great relationship with Joey, 20, Anthony, 19, and Brandon, 17.
In fact, it is Kathy’s sons who have helped her rebuild her life.
She is an ardent campaigner against child abuse.
And now with a photograph of Lindsay as an adult smiling down on her, Kathy says she can finally begin to look to the future.
"I sent one of her photos to a professional, who sent back an image of what she might look like today," she said. "It hangs proudly on my living room wall. Having her look down on me makes me feel closer to her.
"It reminds me that things do move on. For Lindsay’s sake, I won’t let Brad ruin my life anymore. Anyone I can help now means my girl’s life wasn’t lost in vain."