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Christian ex-party girl falls for superglue killer Adrian Hayes in Maghaberry Prison

By Stephen Gordon and Ciaran Barnes

Published 02/02/2016

Adele Best leaves Belfast's High Court
Adele Best leaves Belfast's High Court
Pictured murderer Adrian Hayes in Maghaberry Prison. Images taken from the BBC Series Life Inside: Part 1 of 4. Aired Wed May 14th 2008.

THIS is the pretty Christian jail visitor who fell madly in love with barbaric “glued lips” killer Adrian Hayes after meeting him inside Maghaberry Prison.

Middle-class Bangor mum Adele Best told of her plans to marry one of Northern Ireland’s most notorious murderers even though family and friends warned she was “crazy to get involved”  with him.

But last week Best, 39, dramatically called off their 13-month-long engagement after Sunday Life told her we planned to reveal her relationship with the sadistic killer, who recently lost his day release parole privileges after being caught with drugs.

On Friday, Best went to the High Court in a desperate bid to stop Sunday Life naming her — she failed.

Pill-popping party girl turned born-again Christian, Adele Best had previously boasted online that the Lord had chosen Hayes as her “Godly husband” and had reassured her that the prisoner would not hurt her.

She also posted a romantic photo of the loved-up pair on her Facebook site announcing she was now engaged.

Broughshane man Hayes, 42, is nearing the end of a minimum 17-year sentence he received for murdering vulnerable 21-year-old Ballymena woman Julie Tennant in August 2000.


The barbarity of the murder shocked Northern Ireland, with the trial judge saying Hayes had subjected Julie to “pitiless humiliation” and had shown no remorse.

Powerfully built Hayes had lured Julie back to his Ballymena home and punched her repeatedly in the face for up to 20 minutes.

As she lay moaning in agony, he superglued her lips together, later telling police he did so because “the noise was doing my head in”.

After Ms Tennant suffocated, he hid her body in his garden shed before burying her two days later in a shallow grave and fleeing to England.

Hayes has been branded a monster but born again Best has claimed he is a changed man and a “new creation in Christ” — and until last Tuesday she was engaged to marry him. 

In candid online testimonies on a Christian website, both Hayes and Best have told they met inside Maghaberry jail, how their relationship developed and of their plans to wed.

Hayes said it was love at first sight when Best visited the jail church in 2009 around the same time that he had completed a course in Biblical Studies and Theology.

“I had the great pleasure of being in church one Sunday to hear the Testimony of Adele Best whom Jesus also transformed,” he wrote on the Set Free Prison Ministries website.

“While I sat listening to Adele’s testimony I heard the Lord say to me three times in my head, ‘This is your future wife’.

“Adele’s testimony was very like my own — this lady was the female version of me,” said Hayes who has previously admitted taking Ecstasy in Maghaberry before his conversion.

Adele Best herself had been saved just six months before her visit to Maghaberry after previously living a self-confessed hedonistic life of casual sex, illegal drug use and dabbling in the occult.

The university graduate from a leafy area of Bangor said: “In my teenage years, despite doing well at school, I got involved with the occult. This set me off into dark paths, into the world, drinking, drugs, parties, sex. Throughout my twenties this continued when I travelled and lived and worked abroad.”

She wrote how she had instantly been drawn to Hayes as she delivered her testimony to inmates at Maghaberry in 2009.


“I did notice Adrian at that event. I felt like my eyes were being drawn to him as I spoke, but we didn’t get a chance to talk afterwards,” she said.

Best had begun helping Bangor man Martin Tuson with his prison ministry in 2009 after returning to North Down following a spell in New York. By then she was a single mum and had found God.

She said that around the same time she prayed for a “Godly husband” and hoped that if the Lord did pick someone for her that she would know without a shadow of doubt he was “the man”.

It was 2011 when she spoke directly to Hayes in jail and she said she almost immediately wanted to put her arms around him.

“As Adrian said in August 2011, Martin (Tuson) asked me to go to the prison with him to visit a Christian brother.

“I expected it to be an older man. I was quite surprised to see Adrian and recognised him as the guy I had noticed a few years before when I was in the church sharing my testimony.

“I listened to him share his testimony on the visit but didn’t catch all of it and didn’t catch why he ended up in prison. At the end of the visit all three of us prayed together. I was touched by the Holy Spirit very powerfully and was filled to overflowing with a sense of love and mercy towards Adrian.

“When my eyes were closed I saw a great light and felt great peace and love flooded my soul.

“This seemed to overflow from my heart towards Adrian and I saw him, I believe, through the eyes of Christ. I wanted to put my arms around him.”

In the weeks that followed, Best said she wondered why Adrian was in her heart. “The thought did cross my mind, that this could be the man I had prayed for — for years — to be my husband. But a man in prison! A life sentence prisoner! How was this the plan? It wasn’t in a million years the way I’d have planned to meet my future husband!”

In his testimony Hayes said they had many more visits in jail  but he held in his feelings of love for her “because I knew how people would react to our situation.”

Hayes said: “Adele told me one evening how she felt — how at the start when she visited me she loved me as a brother in Christ and loved me in the Spirit, though now she loved me on the human level.

“I also told her how I felt and that I too loved her. So our relationship developed, and it has not been easy for either of us, but because we love each other so much we continue.”


Hayes went on to say how they were engaged and hoped to marry.

Best in her testimony told how she prayed very hard as she found herself falling for him.

“An example is when I prayed, ‘Lord, would Adrian hurt me?’ (Because he was in prison these fears were running through my mind as I didn’t really know him at this stage), or, ‘Am I walking down the wrong path here?’ (because all my friends and family told me I was crazy to get involved with him, for they saw him through the eyes of the world).”

Adele claimed God woke her at 3am with scripture from Luke about forgiven sins and it reassured her.

“I had a deep sense of peace that this man Adrian would love me deeply in the way Jesus loves me, purely with His love and grace. Simply because Adrian knew Jesus he would love me like Jesus with much grace.

“I continued to fast and pray for months about the developing friendship, always wondering why Adrian never said anything or broached the subject.

“In December 2011 I couldn’t take it any more and in the middle of our conversation burst out that I loved him. I was so relieved when I heard him say he felt the same!”

Adele added: “I also know that Adrian, like me, is a new creation in Christ, our sins have been washed in His precious blood, and the rest of our lives belongs to Him. He has bought us with a high price. It is by standing on these truths that we defeat the negative attacks on us.

“The Lord in the last two years has also delivered me from a host of demonic spirits that were still oppressing me through all the doorways I had opened by dabbling in the occult.”

But after Sunday Life contacted Adele about her relationship with the killer, she broke off her engagement and sought a court order to prevent us naming her.

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