11:00 - 02 July 2003
by Colleen Smith
A Paignton woman whose husband died after putting a drill in his head has appealed: "Help me get out of this hell house."
Dawn Radoslavjevic, seriously disabled with multiple sclerosis, cannot use the bedroom where she and their three-year-old daughter, Zora, discovered the body of her artist husband Dragan.
They were in the flat when the Yugoslavian barricaded himself into the bedroom and committed the terrible act a week before his 43rd birthday.
When Mrs Radoslavjevic tried to force open the door, Zora managed to dart into the bedroom first and saw her father lying in a pool of blood.
"I have had to tell her that he had been painting and went to sleep and that there was red paint everywhere," said Mrs Radoslavjevic.
"It was horrific and she is disturbed about it.
"I cannot believe that nine weeks later we are still in this hell house.
"I cannot go into our bedroom. I wait until Zora is asleep and then I get into her little bed with her.
"I cannot stay here anymore. It's horrible. Everywhere is Dragan. All his paintings are here."
She is on the local housing waiting list and is desperate for a new home.
"I have been told by the housing people that I have 65 points for re-housing, which is about 20 more points than anybody else on the waiting list."
Paul Richards, company secretary of Riviera Housing Trust, said: "I can confirm that this lady had lodged an application for housing with the trust.
"She has requested a home in a particular area with easy access, which limits the number of suitable properties available.
"We are however hoping that a suitable home will become available soon."
The lease on the upstairs flat in Conway Road runs out in less than a fortnight. Now mother and child face ending up in temporary bed and breakfast accommodation.
Mrs Radoslavjevic, 39, says she is living on anti-depressants and cigarettes.
"I've promised I will give up smoking as soon as I get out of here," she said.
Mrs Radoslavjevic, a former record plugger for the Arista/RCA record company in London, said her husband of seven years was often outrageous and eccentric.
"He had even discussed doing a project about cutting his arm off for art."
And in an entry in his diary the week before he died he wrote about committing suicide by using a drill, but wrote that he would not go through with it because of his daughter.
The couple achieved notoriety by becoming the first people ever to marry over the internet. Mr Radoslavjevic had blue hair at the time and wore a kilt.
The couple are on a Trivial Pursuit question card and were invited to attend a launch dinner for the popular game, where Mrs Radoslavjevic sat next to former Beirut hostage Terry Waite.
At the time of his death her husband was depressed and sleeping all the time.
"He had told a friend of mine in London that he felt he was more of a hindrance to me than a help," said Mrs Radoslavjevic, who has lived in Torbay for three years after holidaying in South Devon "all her life".
Now she is being supported by friends and her uncle Les Douglas.
It was Mr Douglas, a former London ambulance driver, who had to clean up the bedroom at the flat so that his niece could return after her husband's death.
"I couldn't believe it," he said. "I had spoken to Dragan only a day before."
Friends Cheryl Richardson and Rachel Diviney are calling on Mrs Radoslavjevic daily to help with cooking and childcare.
"She has always been such a smiley person that I think the doctors and social services don't realise how bad the situation is," Cheryl said.
"Some days her MS is so bad she is crawling around on all fours. She cannot stand at the cooker to make dinner for Zora. I cannot understand why she doesn't get more support."
Rachel said: "She is trapped here because the flat is upstairs and she
cannot get down them."
Copyright © 2003, Northcliffe Electronic Publishing Ltd.