Terrifying true story behind ITV’s latest crime drama: Delia Balmer lived with serial killer John Sweeney for three years and found ‘rope, tape and gloves’ under their bed before he tried to kill her with an axe
- Delia Balmer was hacked to within an inch of her life by John Sweeney in 1994
- The pair lived together in Camden, London, and had been dating for three years
- READ MORE: True story behind the high-flying Labour MP who faked his death
ITV’s latest crime drama will tell the terrifying true story of a woman who lived with a serial killer for three years until finding ‘rope, tape and gloves’ under their bed before she was brutally attacked with a wooden axe.
In 1994, Delia Balmer was hacked to within an inch of her life by sadistic canal killer John Sweeney, who also murdered two other women and is suspected of further murders.
Prior to the attempt on her life, Sweeney had held her captive and repeatedly raped her in a week-long ordeal, for which he was arrested but released on bail.
He immediately tracked down Ms Balmer – whom he had been dating for three years after meeting at a pub in Camden, London – and attacked her with an wooden axe and a blunt hammer, in which she lost a finger and sustained several other injuries.
ITV has commissioned four-part true crime drama, Delia Balmer, featuring Motherland star Anna Maxwell Martin as Delia Balmer and Endeavour actor Shaun Evans as John Sweeney.
Delia Balmer was hacked to within an inch of her life by John Sweeney (pictured together), who she had dated for three years
Ms Balmer previously revealed she was devastated to wake up in intensive care after the attack, admitting: ‘On the doorstep, I saw this finger fly through the air, and I thought:, “That’s it. I don’t want to live anymore. I don’t want to live in this anger and pain”
‘So I wasn’t happy when I woke up in an intensive care unit. I thought, “Oh no, I am alive. Now what hell?”‘
Sweeney went on the run for six years and killed 31-year-old mother Paula Fields, whose body was found in Regent’s Canal, London.
Three other women who Sweeney was known to have dated have never been found.
The fact he was locked up for life for a double murder conviction in 2011, 21 years after his first killing, was of no consolation to Ms Balmer.
She said in 2017, via The Mirror: ‘He wanted me to die in pain, and he’s got his wish. I am going to die in pain, mentally and physically.’
Retired nurse Ms Balmer correctly predicted she would be Sweeney’s next target before she knew of his murderous past when she found a ‘body disposal kit’.
She had first met Sweeney at a pub in Camden, north London, and the two became close after sharing a love of travelling.
ITV has commissioned four-part true crime drama, Delia Balmer, featuring Motherland star Anna Maxwell Martin (pictured right) as Delia Balmer and Endeavour actor Shaun Evans (pictured left) as John Sweeney
At that time, she had no idea that he had already murdered one former partner, Melissa Halstead, and also would go on to kill Paula Fields.
Ms Balmer knew she would likely suffer the same fate as Miss Halstead when she found gloves, a ground sheet, rope, a saw and masking tape.
Ms Balmer – who wrote a book Living With A Serial Killer (2017) about her ordeal – said it was: ‘A body disposal kit meant for me.’
Her relationship with Sweeney, from Merseyside, turned sour as possessive behaviour turned to death threats and assaults.
This culminated in Ms Balmer being tied down to their bed and sexually abused for seven days, with Sweeney threatening to cut off her tongue if she screamed for help.
During this sickening campaign of abuse, he confessed to killing Miss Halstead and dumping her body in a Rotterdam canal in 1990.
In 1994, Delia Balmer was hacked to within an inch of her life by sadistic canal killer John Sweeney, who also murdered two other women and is suspected of causing further deaths
Prior to the attempt on her life, Sweeney had held her captive and repeatedly raped her in a week-long ordeal, for which he was arrested but released on bail
However, Ms Balmer did eventually inform police of what had happened and Sweeney was remanded in Pentonville Prison, only to be allowed out on bail and immediately track her down prior to his brutal attack.
The drama Delia Balmer will premiere on ITV1 and ITVX and will be based on Ms Balmer’s book. Filming will commence during February 2023.
Anna Maxwell Martin said: ‘Telling an important story with the excellent team from World Productions, producer Ken Horn, director Julia Ford and a brilliant cast is always an exciting proposition!
‘As it is brought to life by Nick Stevens, hopefully we will do Delia due diligence,’ the actress added.
Shaun Evans continued: ‘I’ve previously worked with World Productions and ITV separately, so I’m looking forward to joining forces to tell this story.
‘A story that is quite rightly told through the victim’s lens, Delia. We have an excellent script from Nick Stevens and I couldn’t be more delighted to work with Anna.’
The drama is set to narrate the ordeal Ms Balmer suffered at the hands of Sweeney, and her traumatic journey through the police and criminal justice system as they attempt to prosecute him for his crimes.
Source: Read Full Article