Woman who clawed way out of shallow grave died six years later after ‘never recovering’


An inquest opened this week into the death of Stacey Gwilliam who passed away six years after being strangled and buried alive by her evil fiancé Keith Hughes

Domestic abuse victim Stacey Gwilliam who has died aged 40

A woman strangled and buried alive by her evil fiancé died six years later after never recovering from her ordeal, her family claims.

Stacey Gwilliam miraculously survived by clawing her way out of a deathly pit dug by her former partner Keith Hughes who was jailed for life.

But the bride-to-be never got over the horror of being entombed and has died aged 40 of pneumonia.

An inquest into her death opened this week.

Speaking about her loss for the first time, Stacey’s heartbroken mum Shan, 63, said: “I believe Stacey dying so young is linked to what happened to her.

“She never got over it and was also worried about the day when Hughes will be released.”

Stacey Gwilliam speaks about her order on ITV’s Good Morning Britain



Hughes buried Stacey at a coastal beauty spot near her home in Swansea, South Wales, and later told police: “You’ll never find her.”

But brave Stacey managed to use her fingernails to dig her way out of the shallow grave on a cliff path.

She spent 14 days in an induced coma and was finally let out of hospital 26 days after her order in 2015.

Stacey had to walk with a stick and was left with difficulty eating and speaking.

She suffered breathing difficulties and died at her mother’s home in Townhill, Swansea, on November 27 last year.

Stacey’s former partner Keith Hughes was jailed for life for the brutal attack


South Wales Police)

Her mum said health chiefs had launched an investigation to probe why Stacey hadn’t been admitted to hospital.

She said: “I still don’t know why – it’s too raw I can’t really talk about it. It’s awful.

“She died of bronchial pneumonia while I was looking after her here.

“She was never able to get on with her life after what happened, she didn’t even like to talk about it.”

Presenters Susanna Reid and Piers Morgan speak to Stacey about her ordeal in 2016



The preliminary inquest into her death this week heard Stacey had been suffering with lung problems and experiencing breathing difficulties.

On November 26 she had consulted her GP and the following day her mother had discovered her unresponsive in her home.

Paramedics were called and the family was advised to perform CPR.

South Wales Police said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding her death and a full inquest will be held in September.

Hughes was on trial at Swansea Crown Court


Media Wales Ltd)

Bodybuilder Hughes, now 46, throttled Stacey while they were on a seaside walk just days after he proposed.

He was convinced his fiancé would never be discovered and was shocked to hear she had been found alive.

Stacey later told of her nightmare on Good Morning Britain when she spoke to presenters Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid.

She said: “I came round and there were branches and shrubs put on top of me. I could hear my heart beating and I could hear the sound of the sea in the background. It was like everything was in slow motion.

“I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t move. It was like I was paralyzed. I tried to get up but couldn’t. I had to use my nails to get out of where I was. That was all I could do I tried to push but I didn’t have the upper strength.”

Hughes’s trial at Swansea Crown Court heard it was a “deliberate attempt to end the life of a vulnerable woman in an isolated location”.

Judge Paul Thomas branded the painter and decorator a danger to women and jailed him for life with a recommendation he was not considered for parole for eight-and-a-half years.

  • You can call the The National Domestic Abuse Helpline 24 hours a day on 0808 2000 247. To use the live chat function, visit www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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