A Belfast-born woman whose husband was brutally stabbed to death in Mexico has spoken of her family’s heartache since they were robbed of a “wonderful father”.
Marlene Penalver also explained that since the terrifying attack last Halloween she no longer felt safe living in the city which has been her home for the past 30 years and would like to return to Northern Ireland because she fears the man who killed her soulmate could come back.
“I am living in fear all the time,” the distraught mother-of-two told the Belfast Telegraph from her home in Mexico City last night.
Marlene and her husband Jose-Luis were fast asleep when an intruder broke into their double-storey home during the early hours of November 1 last year. The man then made his way upstairs and entered her eldest daughter Betina’s room where he launched into a stabbing frenzy.
Confused and paralysed with fear, the 29-year-old began screaming for her father who rushed in immediately.
However when he entered the room, the intruder turned on him.
A few minutes later when the struggle moved close to the master bedroom, Marlene woke.
Shocked by what she saw, she explained she instinctively jumped on to the back of the attacker to try and pry him away from her husband.
The next thing she remembers is Jose-Luis kicking her leg and screaming for her to get out of the house.
Marlene said she ran outside calling for help. By the time the police arrived, her Madrid-born husband had died.
Marlene was stabbed in the chest, just half an inch from her heart, as well as her left arm.
Betina, who was still recovering from a horrific car crash, had to be treated for stab wounds to her shoulder, hands and face.
Marlene said she feels let down by the Mexican police service and wants to return home to Northern Ireland.
“I have never had a problem in the 30 years I have lived here but now I do not feel safe,” she said. “I would like to come back to Northern Ireland. I just want to live in a place where me and my daughters can be safe.
“My husband was a magnificent man and in my eyes he died a hero. He saved us.”