I have overcome and broken the cycle of 23 years domestic violence including my ex husband trying to kill me. Today I am a thriving survivor with a passion to pay my 23 years forward. I am a mother if 5 and and a grandmother of 4.
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More About Kellie's Story
Falling for one brute is a mistake, two violent men suggests a pattern but four? Should she take some responsibility?
Before you pass judgment let's look at her story.
The scars on Kellie's face have finally faded and while the psychological ones remain she is determined they will not define her.
When her husband finally came to kill it was no surprise. For weeks he had been telling her what would happen, even down to the clothes he would wear on the day he planned to be their last on earth. By then she was so defeated she couldn't even run – and so she waited at the bottom of the cliff for the inevitable avalanche.
Domestic violence survivor Kellie Carter-Bell talked to crime reporter John Sylvester about years of horror at the hands of her former husband, who is now dead. Photograph Paul Jeffers The Age NEWS 6 Apr 2016
In one way she didn't have a chance. Kellie was one of six sisters. Three of them are now dead – one from suicide and two from drug overdoses. And she was dragged into a world of murder, corruption and drug trafficking when one of her sisters married the notorious Melbourne gangster Dennis Bruce Allen.
Her "father" was a crook who disappeared when she was young and for much of her early years she was left to fend for herself when she was locked out of the family's Carlton Housing Commission flat.
By the time she was 13, and desperate for affection, she fell for a local boy a few years older who was the brother of a star AFL footballer.
By then to her violence was not an aberration. It was as routine as a morning cup of coffee. Such as when she was punched at a local park because she passed the footy back to the star brother rather than her jealous boyfriend.
"I was beaten regularly and would go to school with two black eyes," she says.
"When you come from that sort of life any man who shows you affection you think you love." And a punch in the face was part of the package, or so she thought.
A series of men eroded her self-belief to the point she felt so worthless she believed what they told her – that it was somehow her fault and she deserved to be bashed.
And little wonder when in 1981 her elder sister Sissy (by then a heroin addict) married the seriously unhinged Dennis Allen inside Pentridge Prison.
Once released Allen became one of the biggest drug dealers in Australia making between $70,000 and $100,000 a week while on bail for a staggering 60 offences.
He kept out of jail by providing information to police and bribing those who would cop a brown paper bag filled with cash.
The Allen family used schoolgirl Kellie as a drug courier to smuggle heroin to Sissy, by then an inmate at Fairlea Women's Prison.
Allen was a ruthless, rich psychopath suspected of at least 11 killings. He and his brother, Victor Pierce, once used a chainsaw to dismember bikie Anton Kenny in the garage of one of their Richmond properties....