AFRICANGLOBE – The family of an abused woman who was killed and stuffed in a suitcase by her businessman husband, have spoken out about their ordeal for the first time.
Nixiann Downes-Clack, 27, a mother-of-one, was killed by Alexander Clack, 34, on their fifth wedding anniversary after she threatened to leave him when she uncovered his affair with their teenage babysitter.
On a day they should have been celebrating their marriage, Downes-Clack was beaten black and blue by her abusive husband before being dropped off at a cliff top.
The couple seemed to live a happy life, moving from Kent to Grenada in the Caribbean in 2009.
But the victim’s family has revealed that all wasn’t as it seemed.
Kim Downes-Szmyglewska, the victim’s aunt said: “He was very controlling and we later found out very abusive towards Nixiann.”
“She wasn’t allowed to go and see me and her family. I always knew something was not right but she would make excuses and defend him.
“I know she suffered and it makes me feel sick to think about what happened to her, such an inhumane way to die, it’s disgusting.”
Mrs Downes-Clack was born on Grenada, but moved to the UK aged 11 to study and lived with Ms Downes-Szmyglewska, according to reports.
Downes-Clack met prison officer Clack, 24, when she turned 20, on the social networking site MySpace.
“Within weeks, she’d fallen completely under his spell,” Ms Downes-Szmyglewska said. “I’d never seen her like that before. She was smitten, but I couldn’t help feeling protective.”
Downes-Clack started regularly staying over at Clack’s flat in Croydon, south London, and soon she moved in with him.
“Our daily phone calls and regular meetings stopped. He didn’t even want to meet her family,” Ms Downes-Szmyglewska recalled.
“They moved to rural Kent, away from everyone Nixiann knew. She didn’t want to go, but Alex seemed to have cast a spell on her.”
Then, a year later, in March 2009, Downes-Clack announced that she and Clack were moving back to Grenada.
The couple married on June 17, 2009, before moving to the upmarket southern region of Lance Aux Epine, running a successful recruitment firm together.
But neighbours grew suspicious when they heard screaming and crashing sounds coming from their home.
When Downes-Clack’s mother, Linda Downes-McQueen, now 49, asked her daughter about rumours of domestic abuse, she made excuses – despite being seen with broken bones and bruises.
Although her family suspected Clack was violent, Downes-Clack insisted they were happy.
She fell pregnant in March 2011 and when their daughter was born in December that year, she said Clack was a doting dad.
When their girl turned one, they hired a 17-year-old childminder, so Downes-Clack could go back to work.
Soon afterwards she discovered that Clack had seduced the teenager, having sex in their marital bed.
She had had enough, and knew she wanted to leave her husband for good.
“Nixiann called me on June 16, 2014, saying she wanted a divorce,” remembered Downes-Szmyglewska. “I hoped with his awful betrayal, Alex’s spell had finally been broken and Nixiann would leave him.
The next day, on her fifth wedding anniversary, MDownes-Clack was due to meet her mother.
When she didn’t show up, her family frantically called her mobile, but got no answer.
Downes-McQueen even tried Clack, who said he didn’t know where his wife was.
“Instinct told me something terrible had happened to Nixiann,” Downes-Szmyglewska said.
Downes-Clack’s body was found five days later and Clack was arrested and charged with non-capital murder.
He had flown into an angry rage after collecting his wife from work, when she had threatened to leave him.
Back at the house, he beat her, before strangling her in front of their two-year-old daughter.
Then he’d shoved her lifeless body into a suitcase – driving it to a hilltop. There, he’d buried the case in a three-foot-deep-ditch.
At his trial at Grenada High Court in November last year, he pleaded not guilty to non-capital murder.
“I felt sick to my stomach, thinking of how Nixiann must have suffered. How traumatised Anna must have been.’ Ms Downes-Szmyglewska said. “The man was a monster.”
Clack was found guilty of Downes-Clack’s murder by a 12-member jury, on December 23 last year.
Chief Judge, Justice Paula Gilford, said she was not convinced that he was remorseful.
On February 1 this year he was sentenced to 67 years and six months in prison.