Adrian Frater, News Editor
Shortly after 5:50 p.m. on Friday, May 13, 2011, Montego Bay-based nail-technician Marie Maxwell had a near-death experience. Her then boyfriend struck her with a stone, which left her in coma for more than 48 hours.
After that incident Maxwell was left without her sense of smell. She also has had to undergo an 11-surgery to fix her fractured skull as well as repair a section of her brain.
Now back to full fitness, except for her sense of smell, Maxwell's steely determination has helped the police to apprehend her attacker, who, thinking that the fatal blow had killed her, had fled the scene and skipped the parish after watching her fall motionless on the concrete pavement at Old Fort Craft Market in Montego Bay.
"He (the ex-boyfriend) was involved in other relationships, and I told him I wanted out," Maxwell told The Sunday Gleaner, as she claimed that her boyfriend was abusive.
"He claimed that I wanted to leave him because I had found another man and he became angry."
According to Maxwell, her angry boyfriend picked up two stones. While she managed to avoid the first stone that was thrown at her, she cannot remember what happened next.
"I was told that the second stone hit me in the forehead, and I fell backward on to the concrete pavement," said Maxwell. "When I came out of the coma two days later, the doctors told me I was lucky to be alive as my mental 'stabilities' were altered for more than 48 hours.
"I also learnt that the people who witnessed the incident thought I was dead, so nobody wanted to move me before the police arrived," noted Maxwell. "The news was all over Montego Bay that I was killed."
While she was recovering in hospital, where she spent seven days, Maxwell began receiving apologetic telephone calls from her boyfriend who, while refusing to disclose his location, claimed that he was very sorry and still loved her.
"It was he who explained what happened as I had no recollection of my own," said Maxwell. "It was while talking to him on the phone that I decided to play into his hands so that I could help the police to apprehend him."
When she was released from hospital, Maxwell continued to befriend her ex-boyfriend, trying to weave him into a trap so that he could be apprehended.
However, while he kept speaking to her, except for saying he was in Kingston, he was evasive about his exact location.
"After two months, he finally agreed for me to meet him in Ocho Rios," said Maxwell, who admitted to turning on the charms whenever they spoke.
"When I met him in Ocho Rios, I realised he was lying about living in Kingston as he took me to a very remote district in St Mary. I then realised there and then that had I really died, the police would have had a very hard time trying to find him."
In St Mary, Maxwell devised a plan to win her boyfriend's confidence. She treated him extremely well, washing his clothes, cooking his meals and even having sex with him.
Did what was necessary
"I did what I had to do," said Maxwell. "I was not going to take the law into my own hands but, at the same time, I was not prepared to let him get away with what he did to me."
After two weeks in St Mary, the determined Maxwell, who had no clothes of her own, wore his merinos and underpants while gently coaxing him to take her home to Montego Bay to get her clothes.
"Once I got him to agree to take me back into Montego Bay, I knew I had him where I wanted him," said Maxwell, who had pre-arranged plans for the police to nab him.
As soon as he arrived in Montego Bay, he was arrested and charged with wounding with intent."
In the aftermath of his arrest, the boyfriend started to show signs of remorse, so instead of going through a court trial, Maxwell, through her lawyers, agreed to a $2 million out-of-court settlement.
After settling for the out-of-court deal, which would see her ex-boyfriend paying her $90,000 a month, Maxwell was to experience further complications.
"As a result of the damage to my skull and a space created by the damage to my brain, a watery fluid began flowing from my brain through my right nostril, which required a surgery to repair.
"Sometimes when I bend my head, almost a cupful of water would run out of my nostril," said Maxwell.
On August 31, 2013, Maxwell was readmitted to the Cornwall Regional Hospital for the surgery to correct the leakage from her brain. Realising that it was the first time that the doctors were doing such an operation in Jamaica, she was scared to death.
"I was to be their guinea pig and I was worried," said Maxwell. "Nonetheless, I knew it had to be done."
On the day of the surgery, Maxwell was again jolted by some unpleasant news as the police visited her hospital bed, claiming that her ex-boyfriend had given a statement that she had threatened him.
"I had simply called to find out why he had not been making the payments as agreed to in our arrangements ... . I never threatened him," said Maxwell.
"I felt hurt ... here I was facing a life-threatening surgery because of this man, and look what he was doing to me ... . At that moment, all the feelings I ever had for him died."
The surgery, which was done using laser technology, lasted for 11 hours. Maxwell's skull was patched up, a piece of her brain was trimmed and an area near to her nasal cavity sealed to prevent future leakage. After the surgery, she spent a week in the Intensive Care Unit recovering.
"It was a second near-death experience for me," conceded Maxwell, as she expressed thanks to the doctors and nurses who worked on saving her life.
With the surgery out of the way, Maxwell is now ready to take on the battle of getting the remainder of the J$2 million owed to her.
In addition, she hopes to get involved in a programme to help counsel women trapped in domestic violence.
"I put my dignity on the line when I went to St Mary to ensure that this man got arrested for what he did, and I am determined that he must honour his commitment to pay for what he did," declared Maxwell.