Three brothers of a ‘pure evil’ mum who tormented them throughout their childhood have spoken of their hope after the horror they endured for years.
The siblings who were subjected to harrowing and sustained physical abuse have finally got justice 25 years after their nightmare first began.
Anne Brown, 63, was jailed for five years for dishing out horrific physical abuse to her boys, who feared she would kill them.
She even carried a leather belt in her handbag so she could lash her sons wherever they went.
The mother also regularly forced their heads under water and into pillows.
Eldest son Michael Keane, 30, has told the Sunday Mail that he and siblings Connor and Blair were too terrified to speak out, even into adulthood.
Michael only found the courage to share his horrific upbringing when he met his wife Jennifer, 30, in 2010. After confiding in her, Brown was finally reported to the police.
The brothers got justice for their hellish childhood when the 63-year-old was sentenced to five years in prison.
Brave Michael, now a dad of three, has vowed to give his children the loving upbringing he was denied.
He said: “There’s no way to describe my mum other than pure evil.
“She raised us to live in fear. Every day we were in her care, pain and terror was inflicted upon us.
“It’s drastically impacted how I’ve raised my own children and will be something that lives with me forever.”
From the age of four, Michael was subjected to extreme child abuse from his mother.
Michael, of Cumbernauld, Lanarkshire, added: “We were petrified all of the time. She could snap at the smallest of things.
“I was so scared of doing something wrong that my nerves caused me to knock over a glass of water while we were out for dinner.
“She dragged me out of sight of the other customers and belted me across the back.
“Mum always used the metal buckle end in her beatings but the abuse would increase at home.
“The belt buckle was used on the backs of my knees, my genitals and buttocks.
“It could be for the smallest of things, mostly because she ‘didn’t like my tone’.”
Michael claims the abuse was mainly confined to Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays – when his father, Michael Sr, 56, was working away as a display rep.
On those days, the sons prayed for their dad to come home so the violence would calm down for a day or two.
Michael said his only other respite was when he was in the care of his two aunts, Marion and Lily.
He added: “I don’t think I’d be here if it wasn’t for them. They protected us – to a certain extent – from mum.
“But she couldn’t stand it when I became closer with them than I was with her. She tried to stop me from seeing them but we remained close up until they died in 2003 and 2016.”
As Michael grew up, Brown also began to use her fists and drag him about by his hair, often pulling out large chunks.
He said: “She might have been 5ft 5in but she would throw us about with ease and land punches.
“It wasn’t long before I was bigger than her but, I was so terrified, I wouldn’t fight back.”
In 2005, Brown told Michael that she was separating from their dad.
Their dad was the only person stopping her showering an unlimited torrent of abuse on Michael and his brothers.
He said: “I tried to stand up for myself and tell her I wouldn’t be living with her after the separation. It was then that she told me she would kill me – and I knew she wasn’t joking.
“I’d always been scared of her but it wasn’t until that day that I knew she had the potential to kill us.
“Looking back, I should have gone to the police then but I felt helpless.”
Luckily for them, it was Brown who moved out, leaving the boys with their dad and ending the abuse which they had been accustomed to for so long.
The assaults against Michael came to an end when he was 17 but the memories continue to haunt him.
He said: “I have regular nightmares and panic attacks. They’ve got less frequent over the years as I’ve spoken about the abuse more but there’s no denying it’ll have a lasting effect on my life.”
In 2010, Michael met admin worker Jennifer and the pair soon became a couple.
They got married in June 2011 but not before Michael opened up about his childhood. It was the first time he had ever spoken to anyone other than Connor and Blair about what happened.
A year later, Michael, 23, suffered a chemical burn which turned septic, resulting in him having his left leg amputated above the knee.
Then in November 2016, the brothers reported Brown to police before standing in Airdrie Sheriff Court to testify against her. Blair, 20, told jurors he was abused from the age of six to nine.
He also revealed how both he and Connor were held under the water while in the bath on a number of occasions, as well as having pillows pushed against their faces to restrict breathing.
Michael said: “The rest of our family couldn’t believe it when they found out what mum put us through.
“Once I was tying my shoelaces and wobbled, putting my hand on mum’s head to stabilise myself, and she punched me in the face – I was six.”
Brown was found guilty of three charges of assault against each of her sons from May 1994 to October 2010 at addresses throughout Cumbernauld and Glasgow.
She was sentenced to five years in jail in February.
Michael has three children – Lauren, seven, Callum, six and Caleb, one – with Jennifer. He admitted it is difficult to trust others around his children.
He said: “I’m terrified of someone doing the same to them.
“I know the likelihood is incredibly slim but you never know what people are capable of and I’d rather they’re at home where I know they’re safe.”
His children have never been introduced to his mother and Michael vows that this is the way it is going to remain.
He said: “Our lives are better off without her and, now that we have justice for what she put us through, we can begin to move on and repair the damage she left behind.”