Stacey Gwilliam dropped to her knees as the man she loved clenched his arm around her neck. Then everything went black.

When she next opened her eyes she "felt like I was buried in a grave".
She was.

Gwilliam told her terrifying story of being buried alive to Wales Online, after her fiance, bodybuilder Keith Hughes, first choked her until she blacked out and then hid her body beneath a pile of foliage.

Hughes, 39, was this week found guilty of attempted murder. He will be sentenced on Friday.


The pair went to Caswell Bay, 77km west of Cardiff, on July 20 - five days after their engagement, but soon began arguing.

Hughes choked his 152cm tall fiancee until she blacked out. The 34-year-old told the Welsh media outlet she woke up feeling paralysed.

"It felt like I was buried in a grave - there were dead branches, ferns and shrubs all over me. All the undergrowth was so heavy on top of me I was struggling to breathe or remember where I was. It was all crammed on top of me - I had a horrible claustrophobic feeling of being trapped. I felt paralysed, everything seemed to be happening so slow. I thought I was going to die because I could barely breathe.

"I managed to turn over and crawled - digging with my nails and dragged myself out."
Gwilliam made her way to a golf club before collapsing, and the alarm was raised.

The couple had a volatile relationship, and Hughes had previously been jailed for almost four years for attacking Gwilliam on three separate occasions, the Mirror reported.

But Gwilliam was diagnosed with cervical cancer while Hughes was behind bars, and they rekindled their romance after he was released in February.

"He had been violent to me several times but I loved him and he promised he wouldn't hurt me again. I finished with him the weekend before the attack after he kicked me in the stomach and stole money out of my bank account," she told Wales Online.

"But Keith said he was sorry and asked me to go for a walk so we could get the relationship back ... he showed remorse."


It was to be short-lived.

An argument began during their walk when she refused to take him back. Hughes, muscular and weighing 88kg, grabbed Gwilliam from behind in a headlock.

"I ended up lying on my back on the ground with him on top of me with his hands round my throat. I was trying to gouge him and fight him off - he was just glaring at me. He jumped on to my chest with his knees and then seemed to let me go.

"I started to get up to run away but he grabbed me by the neck and pushed my face into the ground. I couldn't breathe."

Gwilliam suffered serious neck, lung, mouth and tongue injuries and spent two weeks in an induced coma. She still needs a stick to walk and has physio and weekly counselling.

"Keith had a good heart and I was attracted by his charm but he was like a Jekyll and Hyde character. He's ruined my life - I have constant flashbacks and it will be a long, long time before I trust a man again."