Doomed ‘fairytale romance’ of childhood sweethearts

An Englishman who had planned to start a new life with Sarah Hines days before she and her two children and a friend were murdered has told how their relationship had been a fairytale romance.

Chris Bradley was 35 when his 25-year-old partner was found dead.

The self-defence consultant and Ms Hines had been childhood sweethearts in Chapel Street, Essex.

He had vowed to marry her when she was old enough.

“We’d always had a good banter between each other and I’d always joke and tell her that one day I would marry her when she was old enough,” he told the Norwich Evening News shortly after her death.

Ms Hines moved to Ireland with her mother when she was 11 but returned to England to visit her father when she was 13. It was during that trip that she saw Mr Bradley again and reminded him about what he had said.

“Sarah told me I used to tell her that when we get older we’re going to make a pact and get married. She then told me her dad had said it was all right. I jokingly asked him and he said of course I can,” Mr Hines told the Norwich newspaper.

He did not speak to her again until 2008 when she added him as a friend on Facebook. Ms Hines wrote to Mr Bradley and said: “Do you remember what you said to me when I was young? Well I’m 25 now.”

He replied: “Well it’s better late than never.”

They kept in contact through Facebook and the relationship developed. In Nov 2010 they decided that he would move to Ireland to live with her and her children.

It was on a following Tuesday Mr Bradley received a text message from Ms Hines brother that changed everything. It said: “It’s Sarah’s brother. Listen they’ve just found bodies at her house, it was just confirmed that Sarah, Amy and Reece were stabbed to death last night, thought you should know. They’ve got a man for questioning. I’ll keep you updated with the news.”

“It was like a fairytale romance, just to be together, but not in the end,” said Mr Bradley. “She was the light of my life. She was the light of everyone’s life. I’m devastated.”

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