'My son caught me in bed with his mate'
Wednesday 04 March 2009
When Beverly Smith was positioned by her son Anthony’s 20-year-old friend, she knew she should resist.
Instead, emboldened by wine and flattered by his attentions, she gave in.
But their night of passion came to a violent end when her son Anthony woke to hear the couple together. He kicked his way into Beverly’s bedroom and flew at Kevin Clark with two kitchen knives.
Anthony hasn’t spoken to his mother since then. Two weeks ago, he was found guilty of unlawful wounding at Maidstone Crown Court and received a 12-month suspended sentence.
“I prided myself on being a good mum,” says Beverly, 42. “But a few moments of passion have destroyed my life. I’ll always regret not going to bed alone that night.
“My son won’t talk to me, my other three kids are ashamed, my neighbours have branded me a slag. I’ve had to leave my job as an admin assistant because of the stress,” adds Beverly, who lives in Eccles, Kent.
Before her “Mrs Robinson” moment, she had been very close to her son Anthony, a 23-year-old air conditioning engineer.
She says: “I’d split with his dad when he was just a year old, so I’d pretty much been his mum and dad.
“During my 10-year relationship with the father of my other three children, we were still close. Anthony was supportive when I ended up on my own again four years ago. He’d even take me to the pub to cheer me up.
“It was on one of those occasions that I first met his friend Kevin. I remember thinking how well brought up he was, but it didn’t even cross my mind that I fancied him – I was old enough to be his mum!”
Anthony had been friendly with builder Kevin for two years. They played football every week and often went out together.
But his friendship with Kevin came to a bitter end on Saturday 4 April 2008.
Beverly was watching TV when her son came home from the pub with mates – eight boys and two girls – at 10pm.
Beverly’s other children, Nicola, 16, and James, 15, were staying with friends. Her daughter Julie, 20, no longer lived at home.
“I didn’t want to cramp their style but they invited me to join them,” says Beverly.
She soon realised that Kevin was paying her lots of attention. “I felt him watching me – it gave me a buzz,” she says.
“Then Kevin squeezed past me and pinched my bum with a wink. I couldn’t believe I was getting attention from a cute, young man and told him to behave as I was old enough to be his mum.”
But after more wine, Beverly forgot about the age gap. She says: “As they were all leaving at 2am, Kevin whispered: ‘Can’t we go upstairs?’
“Anthony was asleep on the sofa, so I led Kevin up to my bedroom. We fell on the bed, giggling. My heart was pounding at the thought of getting undressed in front of a man half my age. I knew it was wrong, but it made me feel young again.
“I’d been single since my divorce, so it wasn’t as if I made a habit of sleeping with random men. It was a one-off that wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been drunk and caught up in the moment.”
But 10 minutes later, Anthony walked in. “I’ll never forget the look on his face as he saw Kevin on top of me,” says Beverly. “I buried my head in the pillow in shame.”
Anthony screamed at Kevin to get dressed and get out.
“He tried to leave, but Anthony caught up with him on the doorstep and started thrashing at him with two kitchen knives,” says Beverly. “He stabbed Kevin in the shoulder and hand.
“Neighbours called the police when they heard the rowing and they both ran away when they heard sirens.
Anthony had been in trouble with the police before for fighting, but I’d never seen his violent side. I was shocked to see him with knives.”
The next morning, Beverly waited for Anthony to come home.
She says: “He walked in and said: ‘Why did you do it, Mum?’ I said I was sorry and that I’d been drunk. All I wanted to do was hug him, but he looked at me like I was a stranger.”
Four hours later, the police arrived and handcuffed him.
“He made it clear he didn’t want me to go to the station with him,” says Beverly. “Later that day, Anthony called to say he’d been charged with unlawful wounding but had been released on bail.
“He said he was going to his grandparents in Scotland because he couldn’t stand being around me.”
Her other children heard the news from neighbours. “Julie won’t talk to me, and Nicola is with Anthony in Scotland,” she says. “I don’t know how much longer James will stay – he gets bullied and told his mum is dirty. I haven’t seen Kevin since.”
Beverly didn’t see Anthony appear in court. “I knew he wouldn’t want me to be there,” she says. “He left a voicemail, saying: ‘I’ve walked free, no thanks to you.’ He said he wanted nothing more to do with me.”
Beverly hopes to make a fresh start in another part of Kent. “There’s nothing for me here,” she says. “My family in Scotland have turned against me, too. I just hope one day my children can forgive me. I can understand the way they feel and I’m doing everything I can to make amends.”
Relationship expert Tracey Cox says: “This situation is a sexual and social taboo because it breaks the trust boundaries between everyone concerned. A friend’s mother is always off limits.
“It also raises concerns about what the friend will be telling others afterwards – ruining the family’s reputation.” n
By Jocelyn Cook